Water Station 1 Project & Master Plan

Water Station 1 Improvements - Phase 1


Backbone of Vancouver’s water system

Water Station 1, located in the Central Park Neighborhood, boasts the City’s largest well field, supplying about one-fourth of the City’s potable water. That's about 2 billion gallons per year!

The 25-acre site is owned by the City’s Water Utility, purchased with customer-paid, dedicated Water Utility funds to be used for Utility purposes. Historically and currently, this well field is one of the Utility’s most important assets. Facilities at Water Station 1 date back to the early 1900s. A plaque at East Reserve Street identifies some of the infrastructure as dating back to 1938, the result of hard work by the WPA – Works Progress Administration. In more recent times, public recreation has been allowed on some portions of the site, which has also become known as Water Works Park.

The site’s primary purpose, however, has been and continues to be the production of drinking water.

Master Plan and coming improvements

Work is underway on projects to improve and protect Water Station 1. 

In 2006, the City prepared a facilities master plan to define improvements required to secure, upgrade and maintain this vital Utility resource. The 2006 planning was coordinated with members of the local community, including the Central Park Neighborhood Association, Clark College and the local Kiwanis Club. Extensive public review also included a January 2006 public hearing before the City Hearings Examiner. In general, the master plan addresses the following:

  • Replacing aging facilities to improve reliability and efficiency, and to meet seismic and other standards;
  • Increasing capacity and delivery capabilities to meet future projected water needs;
  • Protecting the resource from potential vandalism and illegal activities; and
  • Providing some continued pedestrian circulation while restricting access to critical water station functions.

Currently, the City is working with consultants to finalize the preliminary design. Staff has reached out to nearby neighborhoods to present the latest project updates and keep the public informed. View the City Council Workshop presentation of Dec. 08, 2014.

This is a substantial project that is expected to be phased in over approximately 10 years. When all are completed, the major improvements at Water Station 1 are expected to serve the needs of Utility customers far into the future.

The first phase lays the groundwork for later phases and includes the following main elements:

  • Replacing two aging booster pump stations with a new booster pump station including a support facility;
  • Upgrading the electrical distribution system sitewide, including an emergency backup power system
  • Adding a new water disinfection system;
  • Improving security of water facilities; and
  • Upgrading the control system.


Installation of new underground communication lines for water system controls at the Water Station 1 site, has been completed. In November 2016, the City Council approved entering into a contract with CH2M Engineers to develop bid-ready plans and specifications for construction of the next phase of improvements. Please see Future Phases, below.

Future Phases

Construction of the next phase is expected to begin in 2018 and includes two new ground level reservoirs, a new elevated tank, and new security fencing and improvements.

Due to the significantly high costs to seismically retrofit the existing reservoir, both existing reservoirs and the elevated steel reservoir are planned for removal and replacement with this project. One of the new reservoirs will be in place of the amphitheater and the other in place of the existing reservoir. Vancouver’s water system is a gravity-based system, and the amphitheater is on the last usable portion of property that can meet the elevation requirements of a second reservoir. The new reservoirs will not only increase the water storage capacity, they will also improve the reliability of the Utility's water system.

An additional third phase, currently scheduled to begin in 2022, will include replacing three existing wells.