How does Your Water Get to Your Taps?
Water is taken from a variety of both natural and manmade resources including rivers and lakes and
reservoirs and transported via pipes to the treatment works.
Here, the water is cleaned and then pumped through large pipes called trunk mains which are up to 1.5
metres in diameter. Water can travel through the pipes naturally by gravity but in flat areas will
need to be pumped. These pipes are usually in pairs so that one can always transport water if the
other is burst or is being maintained.
The pipes take the water to an underground service reservoir or a water tower. The reservoirs are
covered with grass or gravel so that the water will stay clean. When the pipes lead to a water tower,
the water is pumped to the top, then gravity will transport the water to houses and factories.
From here water travels through smaller mains, flowing into the network of pipes in our towns and
cities. All the water that then flows into our homes is of drinking water quality. In some areas it
can take up to a week for the water to get from the treatment works to our homes and more chlorine
will be added to ensure that it is still clean when it comes through to our taps.