Funny You Asked
Is there running water in Maine?
Residents of Portland learned very early on how important running water is to a community. In a devastating series of events, much of the city of Portland burned to the ground in the Great Fire of 1866.
It was the Fourth of July, and fireworks are suspected as the cause. Ironically, on that summer day, most of the fire department was celebrating the holiday with a picnic at Sebago Lake. When they returned hours later, the fire was raging and the ocean was at low tide. Their hoses would not reach the sea water.
The city was lost due in large part to an inadequate water supply for firefighting. Shortly after, city leaders undertook a daunting project to bring clean, fresh water from Sebago Lake some 16 miles away.
Maine is known for its pristine water and vast forests–a quintessential destination for a relaxing, back-to-basics getaway. More importantly, these attributes are critical elements in preserving Maine’s clean, safe, refreshing tap water. Forests act as natural filters, absorbing pollution before rainwater reaches water supplies. And starting with naturally clean water makes our tap water especially delicious. Visitors frequently comment on its cold, clean taste.
Not only is Maine’s water clean, but there’s plenty of it!
Two-thirds of Mainers receive water from a water utility. The rest are served by individual wells. Maine’s water supplies are easily and often replenished through ample precipitation. There’s little threat of major droughts and prolonged water restrictions. Maine is also recognized for the special district approach to operating water utilities. Most Maine water systems are governed by an independent board of trustees. Their independence helps ensure they are adequately funded and well run. Portland Water District, for example, has been awarded the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies’ Gold and Platinum Awards for Achievement due to efficiencies and operational excellence.
Simply put, Maine’s waters systems are one of our state’s greatest assets.
Portland Water District