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Groundwater | Lehigh River Watershed | For Kids Only

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How does the water get to my faucet?

Almost everyone has running water in their homes, but how often do you think about how it gets there? You just turn the spigot and you get clear water, right?

There are two basic ways that you get water into your home. If you live in a rural setting, like a farm or even a small village, you probably have a private well on your property which provides enough water for your home. If you live in a more urban setting, like a city, town or surrounding area, your home is probably connected to a public water supply and you pay bills to a water utility for the water you use as determined by a water meter in your home.

Water utilities have two choices when deciding how to provide a large number of people with public water: surface water or groundwater.

Groundwater is located underground in large aquifers, and it must be pumped out of the ground after drilling a deep well. Surface water is found in lakes, rivers and streams and is drawn into the public water supply by an intake.

No matter where the water comes from, it must be analyzed to make sure it is safe to drink. Your water puts the raw water through a strict, regulated process of filtration and treatment, using chemicals like chlorine to make your water safe for everyone on the public water supply.

After the water is filtered, treated and tested, it is called potable water and is transported to a reservoir for storage. Water utilities always make sure they have plenty of water in storage just in case the fire needs water to put out a fire or in case a large amount of water is lost during a leak.

Water from the reservoir gets to your home through a series of water mains that lie underground throughout the water utility's service area. If your home is connected to the public water supply, you have a service lateral pipe that is connected to the water main which brings water right up to your faucet when you turn it on!

Ask a parent or guardian if your home has a private well or public water, and the next time you pour a glass of water to drink, you'll know where it came from!

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