Water Q & A
- My water has a "funny" taste or odor sometimes. Can I drink it?
- Yes, you can safely drink, cook with, or bathe in this water. Sometimes algae can cause a "fishy" or "grassy" odor. Algae are normal, harmless plants that appear in the reservoirs at certain times of the year. MWRA treats the reservoirs to control algae.
- Is my water hard or soft?
- Your tap water is considered "soft", and it, is good for laundry and shampooing. Water is measured by the term "hardness" - which is the amount of dissolved minerals in your water. MWRA water has a hardness of about 12mg/l (or less that 1 grain/gallon by older measures. For comparison, "hard" water would have greater than 75 mg/1 hardness. Therefore, you do not need to add softeners to your dishwasher or for laundry.
- Where Does Your Water Come From?
- Your water comes from Quabbin Reservoir, about 65 miles west of Boston, and Wachusett Reservoir,
about 35 miles west of Boston. Water from the Ware River, locat6d
between these two reservoirs, can also add to the supply at times. The
reservoirs provide about 250 million gallons of high quality water
Rain and snow falling on the watersheds - protected land around the reservoirs - turn into streams that flow to the reservoirs. Water comes in contact with soil, rock, plants, and other material as it follows nature's path to the reservoirs. While this process helps clean the water, it can also dissolve and carry very small amounts of material into the reservoir.
Quabbin and Wachusett watersheds are protected naturally and by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) and Metropolitan District Commission (MDC). Over 85% of the watersheds are covered in forest and wetlands. About 75% of the total watershed land cannot be built on. The natural watershed helps to keep MWRA water clean and clear. To ensure safety, the streams and the reservoirs are tested often and patrolled daily.