Water Resources Education Center

Located on the banks of the Columbia River, Vancouver’s Water Center is a fun place to learn about water and nature through a variety of educational, hands-on activities. 

If you have questions, please email vanwrec@cityofvancouver.us or call 360-487-7111. See below for more details about the Water Center, including directions to our facility.

Community members exploring the Water Center's exhibit floor


The Water Center helps visitors foster and explore learning for our community’s healthy water systems. Visit the Water Center or stay connected with us through our monthly newsletter, Facebook and Instagram.


The Water Center provides onsite school field trips for K-8 students, leads the regional Student Watershed Monitoring Network and hosts community nature walks.

Community Programs and Volunteer Opportunities

Vancouver’s Water Center offers a variety of free nature programs and volunteer opportunities. Advance registration is required for all programs and volunteer events. Check out the participate tab below for more information.

Community Room Rental

The Bruce E. Hagensen Community Room is available to rent for meetings, special events and environmental programs. See below for more information.

Water Utilities

Learn about the ways the City of Vancouver manages and cares for our water.

Center Overview

Vancouver’s Water Resources Education Center opened its doors in February 1996, in concert with a new, innovative and advanced Marine Park Water Reclamation Facility nearby. Creation of the Center was also a critical element for the Columbia River Waterfront Renaissance Trail project, encouraging residents to rediscover our waterfront and re-establish the historic connection with the Columbia River.

City of Vancouver officials realized that along with planning and managing water and sewer infrastructure to meet a growing population and increased economic opportunities, the City needed to take a strong leadership role in educating and advancing stewardship of the community’s high quality water resources, an important part of our excellent quality of life in Southwest Washington for residents now and to come.

Over the years, the Water Center has played a key role in boosting awareness about water and welcoming visitors to this unique location along the Columbia River. Our mission: Teach people of all ages how to better care for and make wise decisions about water.

At the Water Center, we maximize fun while educating and promoting stewardship and individual responsibility for conservation and protection of our water resources. We encourage the entire community to get involved!

Funding for construction of this $3.5 million showcase water education facility was provided as a component of the $40 million bond package and utility reserve funds secured for the new treatment plant construction. The Center, a division of the City of Vancouver Public Works Department, receives ongoing funding primarily through Vancouver’s water, sewer and storm water utility revenues, with supplemental support from grants, private donations and community room rental income.

Water Resources Education Center

Where Does Your Water Come From?

Aquifers, 100 percent

The City of Vancouver gets all of the water supplied throughout our service area from wells tapping three underground aquifers – Orchards, Troutdale and the Sand-and-Gravel aquifers.

An aquifer is an underground layer of unconsolidated rock or sand that is saturated with usable amounts of water. Aquifers, which store and carry water, form significant natural water supplies. Recharge areas are important to a healthy aquifer. In a recharge area, water is able to seep into the earth and down to the aquifer, helping recharge these vital natural resources.


Programs and Volunteer Events

Vancouver’s Water Center offers a variety of volunteer opportunities and free nature programs. Advance registration is required for all programs and volunteer events. From birds to bats, animal tracks and native plants, the land and water around the Water Center sets the stage to dive deeper into the natural world during our nature programs. Volunteers help keep the Water Center’s abundant gardens and sandy beaches looking clean and beautiful throughout the year.

Check out current Water Center program offerings and volunteer activities.

Ivy Removal at Marine Park
Friday, Dec. 15, 9:30 a.m. to noon

Winter Solstice Sunset Walk
Thursday, Dec. 21, 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Water Center Garden Cleanup
Wednesday, Dec. 27, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Group walk along Vancouver's Burnt Bridge Creek
Hours and Directions

Contact Information, Hours and Admission

Phone: 360-487-7111

E-mail: vanwrec@cityofvancouver.us

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday (Closed Saturday and Sunday; call for holiday schedule)

Admission: Free

Directions and Parking

The Water Resources Education Center is located at 4600 S.E. Columbia Way, Vancouver, Washington 98661.

Online mapping resources may not be updated regularly and may or may not be accurate, depending upon data and source used. Please refer to the driving directions below to easily find us.

From Interstate 5

Take state Highway 14 East to Exit 1, towards Camas. Use the right 2 lanes to take exit 1 for SE Columbia Way. Stay right and merge onto SE Columbia Shores Blvd. Take an immediate left onto SE Columbia Way. Continue east on SE Columbia Way for approximately 3 miles to the roundabout. Turn left at the roundabout then turn right into the Water Center driveway. Bear right toward the Water Center parking lot.

From Interstate 205

Take state Highway 14 West to Exit 1 toward Grand Blvd/SE Columbia Way. Turn left onto Columbia House Boulevard and continue under the railroad tracks to SE Columbia Way. Turn east (left) onto SE Columbia Way and continue east for approximately 3 miles to the roundabout. Turn left at the roundabout then turn right into the Water Center driveway. Bear right toward the Water Center parking lot.

Community Room Rental

At the top of the Water Center, a spacious window-lined Community Room with balcony overlooks the Columbia River. The Bruce E. Hagensen Community Room is available for meetings, special events and environmental programs. The Community Room is currently available to rent Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 360-487-7111 or email vanwrec@cityofvancouver.us to check room availability. Among the many amenities the Room and its surroundings offer:

  • Cater’s kitchen, mounted screen, portable projector and wireless Internet access.
  • Adjacent to Vancouver’s Waterfront Renaissance Trail, a 4-mile long, shared-use trail along the Columbia River.
  • Located along 50 acres of Columbia River wetlands, tours upon request.
Water Resources Education Center