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From River To Faucet

According to the US Geological Survey, the average person uses about 80 to 100 gallons of water per day. Most of that water is used to flush the toilet, and after that, to take baths and showers.


In 1995, daily household water use in the US totaled about 26.1 billion gallons. About 44 percent of that water came from ground water sources, such as a well. The Source The other 55 percent came from surface water sources, such as a river, lake, or reservoir. Of the 267 million people living in the US at that time, 42 million supplied their own water (mostly from wells) and the other 225 million had their water delivered from a public supply system.

Water Source & Treatment

The JWC currently purchases water from the City of Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Water Works (MWW) draws its water supply from the Mississippi River in Fridley. After treatment and purification, the water is pumped to customers in Minneapolis, Columbia Heights, Hilltop, Bloomington, Edina, and the JWC communities of Crystal, Golden Valley, and New Hope.


Over the years, the Mississippi River has been a reliable source of water. It carries such a large volume of water through the Twin Cities area that localized drought conditions are seldom a problem. The JWC's suburban neighbors rely on groundwater as their source for water. These communities are typically impacted more by the heavy water use that results from drought than are the communities that use surface water.


The Minneapolis Water Works draws about 25 billion gallons from the Mississippi annually, producing an average of 70 million gallons per day (MGD). Peak rates during the summer may be as high as 180 MGD. The largest pump in the Minneapolis system has a 45 MGD capacity and is driven by a 2,200 horsepower electric motor.

Water Delivery and Demand

The system that brings water to your house involves miles of piping. Treated water is pumped from the MWW plant through large pipes (the largest of which is 48 inches in diameter) to two JWC water reservoirs in Crystal and Golden Valley. The storage capacity of the two reservoirs is 27 million gallons. The water is pumped from the reservoirs into the water distribution systems separately owned and maintained by each of the three JWC cities. Each city is responsible for installing and operating its own water mains, pumping stations, water towers, and utility billing.


The three JWC Cities use about seven million gallons each day. Water demands of JWC customers have been relatively constant over the past 10 years. During the day, the amount of water used by residences and businesses fluctuate hour by hour. The JWC water storage reservoirs are big enough to meet each day's needs, keeping the water flowing through the pipelines at an adequate pressure to meet customer needs. Water demands in the summer increase dramatically (often up to 17 million gallons each day) when residences and businesses sprinkle their lawns. The most customers have used in a single day was 20 million gallons.


Adequate supplies must also be available to provide water to hydrants in the event of a fire. The JWC operates and maintains reservoirs capable of storing 28 million gallons. Operators often fill these reservoirs at night to be ready for another day of demands from customers.

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