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About Tacoma Water


Tacoma Water provides clean, reliable water

Tacoma Water has a proud tradition of operating and maintaining one of the country's oldest municipally owned water systems. We provide high-quality water at very competitive prices.

We provide direct service to more than 300,000 people throughout Pierce and King counties. View a map of our service territory.

Our mission:
Providing clean, reliable water now and in the future.

 

Quick Facts

 Basic stats:

  • 117 square miles of service area
  • 240 employees
  • 91,530 residential customers (63% inside city limits; 37% outside city limits)
  • 5,687 commercial and industrial customers
  • 1,366 miles of water mains

Water use:

  • Average annual use per household: 66,705 gallons
  • Average daily use per household: 183 gallons
  • Average cost per household: $336 year / $28 month
  • Total annual use: 5,718,117,700 gallons

Water supply:

  • Up to 168 million gallons per day from the Green River
  • 0 to 72 million gallons per day from seven North Fork wells
  • 52 million gallons per day from local wells

Water storage:

  • 67.6 million gallons in McMillin Reservoir
  • 73.1 million in 18 other reservoirs and standpipes

Financial:

  • Value of our fixed assets: $813 million
  • Total operating revenue: $96.1 million
  • Bond ratings:
    • Moody's: Aa2
    • Standard & Poor's: AA

2013 data

Our History


Original wood pipe forming the Green River gravity line must be replaced with concrete or steel

From the time Tacoma was first settled in 1852 until 1873, settlers obtained water directly from springs and shallow wells. In 1884, Charles Wright obtained a franchise for light and water systems and incorporated the Tacoma Light & Water Company.

During the next five years, he built a system that drew water from the Galliher and Tacoma Eastern gulches, Tule and Spanaway lakes, and Clover Creek. However, Tacoma residents were generally dissatisfied with the quality of water and service provided by Tacoma Light & Water, and as a result, the City Council began negotiating with Wright in 1890 to buy the water and light plants.

After much political wrangling, the City Council and Wright agreed to a price of $1.75 million and put the issue before the voters. It passed, and on July 1, 1893, the City of Tacoma became the proud owner of a suspect water system and the meager beginnings of an electric utility.

Increasing population and poor water quality created a strong demand for additional water. Tacoma Water began developing its own wells, but that wasn't enough.

In 1910, the City Council authorized construction of the Green River gravity supply system. This line, running 30 miles from the west slope of the Cascade Mountains to Tacoma, was completed May 8, 1913. It was built with wood stave pipe, which was replaced with either concrete or steel pipe in the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s.

Since then, many wells have been added in the very productive South Tacoma groundwater aquifer, plus other wells both inside and outside the city.