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MWRA Writing Contest Winners 2005-2006
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

Honorable Mention Winner, Grades 3-5

Tiffany Xie, Grade 5
Josiah Quincy School – Boston

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Our Boston Water

Have you ever wondered where our Boston water came from? Is it (A) Rivers, (B) Oceans, (C) Reservoirs, or (D) Lakes? Pretend this is a test question. Where do you think Boston tap water comes from?

If you answered (C) Reservoirs, then you are absolutely correct! Tap water comes from two reservoirs called the Wachusett Reservoir and the Quabbin Reservoir.

Before we go on I will give you a brief summary about the past of Boston/s water supply. In 1795, before Wachusett and Quabbin reservoirs, Boston's water supply came from Jamaica Pond. Wooden pipes built from tree trunks were used to transport water from the pond to Boston's settled areas. As Boston's population grew we needed more water and in 1848 Lake Cochituate in Natick was used as Boston's second surface water supply. The water traveled through a system of concrete and brick aqueducts and iron pipes. In 1872 brick and mortar aqueducts transported water from the Sudbury Reservoir in Southborough.

In 1908 Wachusett Reservoir was completed and it was the largest reservoir in U.S. Then in 1946 the Quabbin Reservoir made its entrance becoming the largest reservoir in the United States and Wachusett the second largest man-made reservoir.

The water from the reservoirs travels 50-75 miles to reach our homes or businesses. From the Quabbin, water travels to the Wachusett Reservoir and then to the Norumbega Reservoir in Weston. From the Norumbega the water gets transported to the MWRA. Then the water gets treated to disinfect any germs. By doing that MWRA puts chlorine in it. They also put fluoride in the water to help make everyone's teeth healthier. It then leaves MWRA's water distribution system through a series of pipes into BWSC distribution system and out into homes or businesses where so much water can be wasted.

Do you think Boston has a lot of water? S0 much that we can waste it? Well, if you think so let me tell you this, clean and drinkable water can't be found just anywhere. Why waste water? Consider yourself very lucky because in some places like Africa, people don't have clean water so they drink rainwater. Right here in Boston we have good quality water, but why not save it? For example, people should use saltwater for bathrooms, because the wastewater would only be pumped back into the ocean after being cleaned. Why not conserve water by not letting it run when you don't need to use it?

This may seem like a dumb or time-wasting idea, but what if everyone does? You will then realize how often water touches your life. Remember that we only have one percent of water on Earth that can actually be used to drink and the other is either saltwater or frozen. You can make a change to not waste water now! Working together can make a big difference for the future of our water!

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