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Where Does Your Drinking Water Come From?

Our water comes from three main sources:  surface water, ground water and purchased water.  Many years of a growing population, and increased pollution, create special challenges for maintaining high quality water sources. This is why protecting our watersheds is so important.

What is a watershed?
Our largest watershed covers 27.5 square miles. All the rain that falls in this area ultimately drains into our pond system, which provides 75% of water supply for our customers in the Greater Nashua area. Additionally, the Pittsfield watershed drains into Berry Pond and provides water to the residents of Pittsfield.

Surface Water:  As the term implies, surface water comes from rivers, lakes and reservoirs. Pennichuck manages two surface systems, including:  a series of five ponds on the Pennichuck Brook which provide most of the water for the system serving our customers in Greater Nashua; and a separate watershed in Pittsfield.

Ground Water:  Ground water is the source for many other communities. This water comes from large underground pools and rivers, which are tapped into through deep wells. And the water is pumped up to the surface.  Pennichuck serves over 35 well systems throughout New Hampshire.

Purchased Water:  In some cases, it is necessary for Pennichuck to buy water from other water utilities. Usually this entails building an interconnection between the two water systems.

Supply Dam Supply Dam
Four dams control the level and flow of water in our pond system. Recently, Pennichuck completed upgrades on our Supply Pond and Harris Pond dams, so that all our dams meet the standards dictated by the Army Corps of Engineers and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES).

Managing and protecting our water sources

Buffer Zone
To protect watershed areas, Pennichuck encourages a 300-foot buffer whenever possible between homes and the water. In some cases, the use of road salts and liquid fertilizers have been banned, and swales created to collect and filter road drainage.

Urban Runoff Project

The Pennichuck Brook Urban Runoff Project was the first storm water treatment system of its kind in our state, located on the campus of the New Hampshire Community Technical College. This project entailed building huge man-made wetland areas that capture storm water and slowly filter it back into the water table, preventing pollutants from washing straight into our surface water supply.

Wellhead Protection Buffer

Pennichuck helps protect the quality of ground water sources by establishing wellhead protection areas. This includes posting signs, fencing off areas, and notifying nearby residents about the importance of taking special care to prevent pollution from contaminating their drinking water supply.
Help Us Protect Water Quality
Preserving our watershed is everyone’s responsibility. Many chemical products we all use around the house can pose a serious threat to our water sources. Help protect our resources by disposing of used motor oil, antifreeze, paints and batteries properly.