By: Gillian Sloan

Did you know that if all the world’s water were to fit into a gallon jug, the fresh water available for us to use would equal only about one tablespoon? Unfortunately, this usable water is getting polluted faster than natural processes can cleanse it.  

That’s why we want YOU to Refill from the Tap with OCWA water. Making small, simple steps in your daily life not only make a big impact in your life, but in the lives of those all around the world.

Bottled water was first commercially distributed and sold in America by Jackson’s Spa in Boston, MA in 1767. The bottled water that we know today wasn’t mass produced until the latter part of the 20th Century and wasn’t made widely available until what some called a technological innovation, polyethylene terephthalate plastic (PET), which is now the primary plastic used for water bottles. Twenty years ago, bottled water was packaged in large jugs or coolers as an alternative home water source, but single-serve plastic bottles allowed people to carry them wherever they go and the market exploded.

Today bottled water, not soda, is the United State’s most consumed beverage reaching 39.3 gallons per capital last year, compared to an estimated 32 gallons per capital in 2012.

While over 663 million people in the world still lack access to safe tap water, this is definitely not the case for OCWA customers. We are committed to providing water to residents and businesses in the Central New York region for the improvement of their health, welfare and prosperity, in a manner protective of the resource and our environment. Our Water Quality Report released each year indicates the quality and safety of the water that we supply. To view the last several years of Water Quality Reports, click here.


What Makes OCWA Water So Safe?

OCWA strives to provide our customers with clean, reliable water in an efficient and affordable manner. As a result, we have earned top rankings in national performance benchmarks for labor efficiency, debt per customer, and affordability. These competitive rankings illustrate our dedication to providing you with the highest quality water at the lowest possible price.

Part of the reason that OCWA is able to deliver water so efficiently is that we believe in using our resources responsibly. That is why we continue to build toward a sustainable future through a strong infrastructure and reinvestment program.


Here are a few examples of our proactive approach:

    • In 2016, OCWA installed 46,861 feet (almost 9 miles) of water main including replacement of 19,255 feet (3.65 miles) of outdated mains.
    • Five to six water storage tanks are inspected every year for structural integrity, and those that show a need for rehabilitation are scheduled into the five year capital improvement program (two were rehabilitated in 2016 and two more are scheduled for rehab in 2017).
    • Significant energy savings were realized by work done in 2016 to upgrade two aged pump stations, and we continue to improve our efficiencies through LED lighting changes and other improvements, wherever and whenever we can.
    • Water Treatment Plant improvements started in 2010 allow for OCWA to maximize use of its lowest cost source of water supply.