So How Exactly Does Water Get to Your Place?

When you turn on the kitchen or bathroom faucet, it thankfully always seems to work. 

woman tap water
Helmut Seisenberger/Getty Stock

From time to time, the power will go out and the PUD crews scramble and quickly get things back to normal. The occasional power outages seem to be caused by random things - like a squirrel getting crazy at a power substation. Or a car hitting a power poll will knock out an entire grid.

Thankfully, it's rare to turn on the faucet and nothing comes out.  Why is that?

Lets first find out how water gets to your city treatment plant. Plus, why do towns like to place water their tanks and towers high up on hills? Or in Moses Lake, on a water tower? New York City places their many water towers on building rooftops around Manhattan.

If you live in a small town, there's a high chance that the water comes to you from the town water tower.

Many of those seemingly have the town’s name on it. 

NorthWest VFA, Photography by Nathan Albright (Facebook)
NorthWest VFA, Photography by Nathan Albright (Facebook)

If you live in the country on a farm, your water probably comes from a well on your property. If you live in a small town or larger city, you most likely get your water from a public water supply.

Public water utilities provide water to large numbers of customers by one of two means: Surface water or groundwater. 

  • Groundwater - Located deep underground in veins of water known as aquifers. It must be accessed by drilling a deep well and then pumping it to the surface. If you have a private well on your property, you are using groundwater from an aquifer.
  • Surface water - Found at the surface of Earth in lakes, rivers, and streams. A public water utility accesses surface water by building an intake to draw water to a location where it’s analyzed if it can be consumed, then treated.

The water (groundwater and/or surface water) is then pumped from the treatment center to your home. 

Here in Wenatchee, we have several water tanks, found at higher elevations. Most of the water is sent to you directly from the water treatment plant and is pumped to your neighborhood. If the town pump is producing more water than the town's water demands, the excess water will go to the water tank. 

The City of Wenatchee provided an educational video of everything we described above:

If the community is demanding more water than the pump can supply (Typical in the summer months) then water flows out of the tank to meet the need. 

In an emergency, such as  a loss of electrical power that would disable the city water pumps, You’ll still get water delivered to your home faucet for up to 24 hours. 

The water still gets delivered, due to water towers' higher elevation. The physical act of gravity gets the water to where it needs to go.

INFO: City of Wenatchee,

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