Barney Reservoir Water Loss & Equipment Repair

The Facts & Next Steps 

In October 2022, the City of Hillsboro Water Department requested an emergency lease with the City of Forest Grove for up to 1,500 acre-feet of stored water after a portion of water from Barney Reservoir was unintentionally released into the upper Trask River.  

An investigation by Hillsboro Water showed the release was caused by a flow measurement error and malfunctioning telemetry equipment. 

The unplanned release of stored raw water – or untreated, non-chlorinated water – did not cause any disruption downstream.

As an immediate response, Hillsboro Water: 

  • Conducted a thorough investigation to analyze the situation, 
  • Decreased rate of release to the Trask River 
  • Initiated repair of the malfunctioning equipment, and  
  • Implemented a corrective action plan to prevent inadvertent water releases in the future. 

In addition to making the necessary repairs we will be installing additional remote monitoring equipment, adding additional quality control measures to our data tracking, and increasing staff inspections at the remote location.

Costs associated with the repair and potential lease can be absorbed by the current budget without impact to water rates and water system development charges (SDCs).

Below are the facts about next steps and additional background. 

Equipment Repair & Cost 

  • Hillsboro Water is repairing and calibrating the reservoir’s telemetry equipment, which is currently estimated to cost between $1,000 and $2,000.  
  • General reservoir equipment maintenance costs previously budgeted will cover the equipment repair amount, and not impact Hillsboro’s water rates and System Development Charges. 

Water Lease & Costs 

  • To ensure the Hillsboro community’s water needs are met, the City of Forest Grove approved a lease of up to 1,500 acre-feet of stored water to Hillsboro Water, if needed. 
  • Every 500 acre-feet of leased water would cost Hillsboro Water approximately $33,555. 
  • Hillsboro Water’s fiscal year 2022-2023 budget includes a placeholder for possible leases that may occur during the fiscal year, which would cover the leasing cost(s). 
  • Hillsboro’s water rates and System Development Charges will not be impacted by the water lease charges. 

Background about the Barney Reservoir 

  • Hillsboro’s winter water source is the upper-Tualatin River.  
  • During the summer (typically beginning in June), the Tualatin River level drops too low for community use, so Hillsboro customers rely upon water stored in the Scoggins Reservoir (Hagg Lake) and Barney Reservoir to meet customer water needs. 
  • Located in the Trask River Watershed, the Barney Reservoir holds 20,000 acre-feet of water at capacity, of which 14,886 acre-feet is available for drinking water. (One acre-foot is equal to about 325,851 gallons.) 
  • During the summer (release season), stored water from the Barney Reservoir is diverted through a pipeline into the headwaters of the Tualatin River. 
  • Hillsboro Water monitors the Barney Reservoir’s levels and flow rates, which are automatically measured with telemetry at the site and recorded throughout the day.  
  • The Barney Reservoir is owned and operated by the Barney Reservoir Joint Ownership Commission, which includes the Cities of Hillsboro, Forest Grove, and Beaverton, the Tualatin Valley Water District, and Clean Water Services. 
  • Forest Grove, Beaverton, and the Tualatin Valley Water District are not affected by the unintentional stored water released and have enough water remaining to meet their needs for the 2022 release season.
  • Clean Water Services stopped releasing their share of Barney Reservoir stored water and switched fully to water from Scoggins Reservoir for the remainder of the season. 

Comments & Questions

If you have additional questions or comments, please contact the Hillsboro Water Department at: 

  • Call: 503-615-6702 
  • Email Hillsboro Water 
  • Visit: 150 East Main Street, Third Floor, Hillsboro, Oregon 97123