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Winner - Best Tasting Water in Wisconsin, 2013 WWA State Fair competition

About Us


We are entrusted by the people of Madison to supply high quality water for consumption and fire protection, at a reasonable cost, while conserving and protecting our ground water resources for present and future generations.


Madison’s community water service began in 1880 with a petition to the Madison Common Council asking that a waterworks system be constructed. In 1880, Madison’s population was 10,324. The original capitol building had been in place since 1869 and two new wings for it were proposed, with no fire protection capabilities beyond private wells, lake water, and water cisterns.


Madison Water Utility now provides water service to more than 62,000 locations in the City of Madison, Town of Madison, Shorewood Hills, Maple Bluff, Blooming Grove, and Town of Burke.

A deep, high-quality aquifer beneath the city is the source of our water supply. As the city grows and expands, the utility must continue to plan for and add wells, storage, pumping equipment, and new and replacement pipe to meet demand for safe water, to address quality issues and supply issues as they arise, and to work with the community to responsibly manage the resource.

2012-2013 Water Utility Annual Report >>


Madison Water Utility is an agency of the City of Madison. It is a public water system owned and operated by the municipality. The Utility is established under the authority of State of Wisconsin statutes which provide for appointment of a board to manage the Utility and to supervise its operation, under the general control and supervision of the Madison Common Council. The Water Utility Board appoints a general manager, subject to the approval of the mayor and common council, who is responsible for day-to-day management and supervision of the Utility.

The Utility is divided into functional areas or sections: administration, finance, engineering, water quality, and operations (distribution and maintenance). Of 129 budgeted regular positions, more than 75 provide direct services in distribution system maintenance and repair, meter installation and service, and customer billing services. An additional 30 positions have responsibility for monitoring water quality and pumping operations and for facility and vehicle maintenance. The other budgeted positions provide engineering services, finance and accounting services, and supervision of field and office staff. Hourly and seasonal employees provide support for specific seasonal or project work.


  • 22 deep wells that, when operating, pump water into the distribution system
  • 828 miles of water main, 8,231 hydrants, 18,792 valves
  • 30 reservoirs providing over 33 million gallons of storage
  • 11 district pressure zones
  • Service connections and pipes to individual properties

Madison’s water source is an aquifer in deep underground sandstone formations. The aquifer is recharged from precipitation naturally filtered by its downward progress from the surface. City wells tap the aquifer, and the water is pumped through our distribution system after limited and closely monitored additions of chlorine and fluoride, assuring a reliably safe, high-quality community water supply. Hydrologic studies have shown that the aquifer supports sufficient quantities of water to meet the city’s projected water demands indefinitely with appropriate management and reasonable conservation measures, including groundwater protection measures.

Key Services of the Water Utility:


Image: Services of the Water UtilityWe deliver every day a high quality, reliable supply of drinking water that protects public health. The citizens of Madison depend on it for safe water to drink, prepare our food, wash our clothes, and bathe our families.




Image: Services of the Water UtilityWe work to protect our precious groundwater source by using sustainable practices ourselves and encouraging conservation by our customers. We are all stewards of the water infrastructure and resources handed down to us by previous generations.




Image: Services of the Water UtilityWe ensure that a sufficient supply of water is available at hydrants throughout the city to fight fires. We keep this water flowing at the right pressure to enable the Fire Department to protect lives and property.




Image: Services of the Water UtilityThe water pipes below our streets make everyday conveniences possible and provide the Madison community a high quality of life. We all support essential water service by paying for the necessary infrastructure and processes to get water to every customer.




Image: Services of the Water UtilityWe deliver a reliable and affordable supply of fresh water to support the local economy, to supply business, industry, government, and a world-class research university with an essential need.