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City Water Supply

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 Where does our water come from?

The Tumwater Water Utility's top priority is providing drinking water of the highest quality to our customers within Tumwater's service area. City water comes from underground aquifers and is pumped and custom treated to provide quality drinking water.


The first water system in the Tumwater area was built by the Olympia Brewing Company in 1885, using the extraordinary high quality water in their product and coining the phrase, "It's the Water."  In 1927, Tumwater purchased that system, as well as another, from a small private water company, and developed McAleer Springs as a source of supply. 

By the 1950's, the Palermo Valley Wellfield was acquired and developed as the first major source of supply for our community.  Since then, an additional wellfield and multiple individual wells have been added to the system to supply fresh, clean water as the City continues to grow.


Our water comes from underground aquifers - porous rock formations below the ground that "hold" water. These aquifers are replenished by rain and snow as it infiltrates through the ground, is filtered by the soil and cleaned by the trillions of microbes that work hard to clean our water in a natural way. The many layers of soil, rock and microbes that sit above the aquifers act to cleanse the water as it passes and helps prevent contamination from the surface.

Tumwater's water system draws water out of these aquifers from multiple sources located around the City.  Areas on the surface that are near the capture zones, or recharge areas, are known as wellhead protection areas.  The City has 3 main Wellhead Protection Areas - Palermo, Bush, and Port, the names describe the geographic area in which the wellfields are located. For more information on wellhead protection, visit our Wellhead Protection page .

The Palermo Wellfield is the City's primary source of water, with the Bush Wellfield supplementing supply almost year round. During the peak summer demand period, other wells located throughout the City help the Utility meet the increased demand.

Monitoring water quality

Monitoring the quality of the water supply is performed on a regular basis.  This includes the raw source water, water within the distribution system, and in some cases, customer's tap water. 

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