Learning Where Your Water Comes From

It’s fun and informative to learn where your water comes from. In Port Townsend, most residents know their water is piped from the Big Quilcene River, about 30 miles away! If you don’t already know where your water comes from, call your water provider (the number on the monthly bill) and ask.

In Puget Sound, most large cities rely on rain and snowmelt that flows from the mountains into creeks and streams, and from there into major rivers. Seattle, for instance, receives its drinking water from the Cedar and Tolt Rivers, whereas the water source for Everett and some other parts of Snohomish County is the Sultan River, which flows into the Spada Lake Reservoir. Other communities, such as Olympia receives their drinking water from groundwater springs as well as from wells that are supplied by aquifers. If you live in a rural area, you might depend on a well, which may be private, community owned, or part of a public system.

Surface Water: Water on the land surface, such as in creeks, rivers, lakes and wetlands.

Ground Water: Water that exists below the ground.

Aquifers: A saturated geologic formation that can hold and produce ‘useable’ quantities of water.