Do You Know Where Your Drinking Water Comes From?

The water we drink in our homes and workplaces comes from a variety of sources depending on where you live. Some of us drink water that comes from deep in the earth in the form of “groundwater,” while others drink water that originates as “surface water” in streams and rivers.

Clean Water: A Long Journey

Rural areas and some boroughs in our region receive water from individual and public, “community” wells. A well is a hole drilled deep into the ground to access water contained in an aquifer. A pipe and a pump are used to pull water out of the ground, and a screen filters out unwanted particles that could clog the pipe. Private wells supply 10% of New Jersey’s residents and public wells supply another 27% of the state.

Rivers form the source of drinking water for 63% of New Jersey’s residents. In our area of Central New Jersey, if you are not connected to a well, you receive treated surface water from the Millstone, Raritan and Delaware Rivers, the D&R Canal, or a combination of these surface water sources.

For example, Trenton pulls most of its drinking water from the Delaware River. Princeton receives water from several sources, including the Millstone and Raritan Rivers, the D&R Canal and groundwater wells. New Brunswick’s source is the Raritan River. Drinking water treatment plants draw water from our rivers and treat the water before pumping it to homes and businesses for consumption.

Surface and ground water sources of drinking water are both vulnerable to pollution. Activities that unintentionally pollute the small stream in your neighborhood may be polluting your drinking water supply. Clean drinking water depends on all of us making wise choices about how we manage the land that drains into our streams and rivers. If we pollute the land, we pollute our water.

Watch the video below to learn more about public water infrastructure in New Jersey and click the button to find out how we ensure adequate water supplies in our watershed.