Water main installation in the 1880s and today

Founded as a public utility in 1882, Madison Water Utility is proud to bring safe, high-quality water to more than 250,000 people across Madison, Shorewood Hills, Blooming Grove, Maple Bluff, parts of Fitchburg, the Town of Madison, and the Town of Burke. Our water comes from a deep aquifer beneath Madison and is pumped to the surface by 23 wells located across the city. Compared to lake water, the deep wells provide high quality, clean and safe water that requires little treatment.

How did a UW undergrad's cutting-edge chemistry experiments in 1880 jumpstart Madison Water Utility? Take a look at the video below to find out more about our unique history:


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 Water Utility is a public water system owned and operated by the City of Madison. Our operations and infrastructure projects are funded by water rates, not taxes. Rates are set by the Public Service Commission. Madison Water Utility is governed by the Water Utility Board whose members are appointed by the mayor and is 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.

Madison's Water System Operates with

  • 23 deep wells located at well facilities across the city
  • 916 miles of water main 9,009 hydrants, 21,728 valves
  • 33 reservoirs providing over 43 million gallons of storage
  • 11 district pressure zones
  • 64,839 service connections and pipes to individual properties

Key Services of Madison Water Utility:

Drinking fountain

We 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.


Water conservation

We 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.


Fire hydrant

We 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.



The 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.



We 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.

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