The Historical Development of Boston's Water Supply System

by William A. Brutsch, Massachusetts Water Resources, Authority, Charlestown, MA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Boston's Water Resource Development: Past, Present, and Future


Boston, one of the oldest cities in the United States, has one of the oldest public water supply systems, dating back to 1652. The system was developed and expanded incrementally in response to the growing needs of the city, throughout the industrial revolution and into the twentieth century. The water supply system was also one of the first in the nation to be integrated into a metropolitan system, with the formation of the multi-municipality Metropolitan Water District in 1895. The Metropolitan Water District was the forerunner of the Water Division of the Metropolitan District Commission, which was the forerunner of the Waterworks Division of the the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). Today, the existing system has three sources in central Massachusetts providing water to 46 communities. The Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs, and the Ware River combine to provide a safe yield of approximately 300 million gallons per day (MGD) to the MWRA system.

Subject Headings: Water supply systems | Water resources | Water quality | Water supply | Municipal water | Industries | Reservoirs | Rivers and streams | Boston | Massachusetts | United States

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