WHERE DOES WATER COME FROM?

I am having a conversation on Facebook involving a kid drinking water from a dipper, presumably drinking well water. The question was whether anyone had ever had water from a well.

Many people commented that yeah, they had well water, but they used glasses. Like regular people.

I said: “We have a well.” They were unimpressed. Because apparently only city water is “safe” and wells are dangerous. Everyone has city water these days unless they live in the really super deep rural wherever. Total boonies.

Really? Seriously?

Finally, I pointed out if you don’t have a well, then your town has wells. and you get your water from their wells. And pay them to pump it into your pipes. No one uses an old wooden bucket to get water from a well unless you don’t have electricity. Most places have electricity and everyone uses an electric pump, just like the city, but not as big.

So, to sum it up: Water that comes from your well is just like getting it from the city, but closer. Also, it is better water and typically, free of chemicals.


Marilyn Armstrong In the 1950s you got free glasses with your laundry detergent, so EVERYONE had glasses. If there was a dipper, it was so you could put the water into another container — like, say a pitcher? And by the way, a lot of people have wells for water. I’m just 65 miles outside Boston and everyone around here has a well. If you don’t have a well, then your TOWN has wells, so you get your water from THEIR wells. Seriously, where does everyone think water comes from?


Eventually, I pointed out that we aren’t all that rural. We’re just an hour or so outside Boston and everyone out here has a well. Which is typical of most states in New England. We have an aquifer, so when you need water, you dig a really deep hole and when you find water, install a well pump and hook it to the pipes … and voilà! Water!

That was when I asked them if they understood where water comes from.

We have an artesian well.

Do they think when you hook up to “city water,” that water magically appears through some mystical city apparatus? Do they not understand you are getting water from wells or reservoirs, but no one is “making it”? City water is water. Pumped by the city, from wells or reservoirs. After which, they put chemicals in it and send you a bill. A big bill.

I know the people in our town who get “city water” (you have to actually live in town to get “city water”) pay a bundle for it. And the water is pretty bad.

I keep hearing how daring it is to drink “raw” water. RAW water? What other kind do you drink? You mean … if it isn’t full of chlorine, you shouldn’t drink it? You know, when you buy bottled water? It comes from a well. Like ours. Sometimes, not as good as ours.

Fresh water tastes good. Our water is delicious. Ice cold because our well is deep. Clear as crystal and free of chemicals.


(But … isn’t that … dangerous?)


I haven’t heard a lot about people in the country with wells getting sick from their water. It’s cities where the water is bad.

This was one of the funniest conversations I’ve ever had on Facebook. You all know where your water comes from … right? Just checking.

41 thoughts on “WHERE DOES WATER COME FROM?

  1. I’m with the last commenter… I’ve never had a water bill over $30 other than the one time I forgot to shut the water off to the hose for a few weeks and it had a leak (I did learn how to grow moss wherever I want to, though). Our city water is notoriously bad and bottle water sells like hotcakes. I would imagine with over a century of heavy industry in this area, our “well water” probably is probably more than a little nasty. And let’s not even talk about the Mississippi River. You can tell when we haven’t had rain in a long time, because the water is so loaded with chlorine, it’s like drinking straight from a swimming pool…

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    • We’ve been living here so long, I can’t remember getting any water bill, though I know we must have because when we lived in Boston, we got a combined Sewer & Water bill and it wasn’t small. The water is just one part of it. The sewer is the rest. But we don’t pay either because it’s all private here. For good and ill.

      It costs us $245 per year to take care of our tank and unless something bad happens, the water is whatever the pump costs, electrically speaking. That’s it.

      I do remember Boston water as essentially undrinkable and I think almost everyone uses bottled water for cooking and drinking. I think that’s true in just about every city. In New York, the water comes (mostly) from upstate reservoirs and the water is probably pretty clean. But the PIPES are old and we don’t even want to think what lives in them. When the reservoirs drop, the water gets pretty putrid. It’s only “technically” water.

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  2. Our water comes from a reservoir, but the monthly bill is $30. Not so bad, but I wouldn’t drink it- I stick to bottled water, which makes up for the low water bill 🙂 But I do buy the bottled water in Costco which is 7 cents a bottle. It is what it is!

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    • You are lucky your water is so reasonable. It costs more up here — and we have a lot of water. I don’t know anything about New Jersey’s aquifer. I know a lot about New York’s and New England’s aquifers, but aquifers are regional. Different and some places don’t even have one.

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  3. I think that in our rural area most of the people who are not on “town” water from the local reservoirs are on tank water. Rain water is nice to drink and doesn’t have chemicals in it but of course there is always the risk of running out. A lot of my local friends are constantly worrying that they will have to buy water from a water carrier if they run out in summer. I have seen wells but mostly on farms. I think that those who live “off the grid” may also use them.
    In South Australia, a much drier state, I often saw bores on country properties. I think of the tall, wind powered structures as being a very Australian thing but perhaps your wells are similar. I did a bit of reading to try to understand the difference because my memories of SA were seeing signs saying “bore water do not drink” . It seems that I have probably seen those signs on shallow bores in urban areas where they are often used for watering public parks, golf courses etc while the deep ones are used for drinking water.
    Adelaide water is renowned for tasting bad although it is harmless probably because a lot of it is pumped through a huge pipeline from the Murray River 50 miles away to supplement the local catchments. The Murray flows through NSW and Victoria where it is used for irrigation before getting to SA so the quality is not great by the time it gets to Adelaide. In Port Augusta, north of Adelaide where I once spent a week the tap water was so brown and horrible that everyone drank bottled water or rainwater. Perhaps it is because people in cities don’t understand much about how water gets to them that they don’t understand why fracking is a bad thing.

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    • The quality of well water is a direct line from the quality of the earth where the water runs. If there is a lot of industry and especially if it is the kind of industry with toxic or hazardous waste, it will affect the water. How could it not? But there are other things that affect water including salt which, if it gets into an aquifer, will poison it. Permanently. But mostly, it’s hazardous and toxic waste.

      Not every place in the world has an aquifer. In the U.S., somewhere in the middle of Arizona, the aquifer disappears, so you can only get water from rain or rivers or other standing bodies of water. I don’t know exactly how the ground and aquifers are in Australia. It’s different even in this country, depending on where you live. New England, where we live, has a pretty healthy aquifer. New York’s aquifer has been threatened, but has so far survived. When I lived in Israel, the aquifer was killed by too many farmers using nitrogen based fertilizer — and fertilizer is another one of the potential killers of aquifers.

      Water is complicated. Human waste that is poorly disposed of can poison wells and aquifers with bacteria. Typhoid can infect water too and used to be knows as “bad water.”

      In some parts of the world, waste water is reused for stuff like lawn watering, but it can’t be used for watering crops or animals or people.

      Complicated.

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  4. Until about 20 years ago we had dug well water as well as an artesian. In the winter we turned off the fancy artesian and I hauled water out of the dug well on a daily basis. Two pails at a time. Now and then we need to use that well because of plumbing problems, and it’s nice to know I can still turn my hand to it all. Muscle memory and all of that.

    We are intensely rural, but even our neighbors all have dug wells or artesian wells, and I don’t really foresee the time when the town would be willing to send piping 8 miles into the country side for anyone. Nor would we take it. I’ve tasted town water.

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    • We get NOTHING out here. I’m surprised the roads are paved — and we are only 4 miles out of town. But the town is pretty small and they seem to be having quite enough trouble managing it. We are the forgotten part of the town. People refer to us as “the woods.” No sidewalks. No trash collection (unless we pay for it). Not street lights. I think they might send a fire engine if called 🙂 And the town water is disgusting (and I think possibly unsafe to drink).

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  5. Oh dear! I would take well water over town water any day. Less chemicals. Funny how times change. Take our food. Things grown without chemicals, now need to go through red tape and testing, ones with chemical are deemed safer. Local food now has to prove they are organic, we just called it food back in the day. All the treated ones should be the ones needing labels and red tape. Go figure! I think we went backwards.

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