Water System

The Joint Water Commission (JWC) cities of Golden Valley, Crystal, and New Hope purchase water from the City of Minneapolis, which draws its water supply from the Mississippi River. After treatment and purification, the water is pumped to its customers throughout the metro area.

2013 Water Quality Report

Printed copy available upon request.
Call 763-593-8030.

Joint Water Commission (JWC)

J W C logo

In 1963, the Cities of Crystal, New Hope, and Golden Valley formed the Joint Water Commission to purchase water under one contract from the City of Minneapolis and to efficiently manage the three Cities’ unique water distribution system in a fair and equitable manner. Each City maintains its own distribution system and utility billing, meter reading, and water sampling functions.

The City of Minneapolis provides the JWC water that is softened to approximately 5 grains of hardness per gallon. While it is personal preference, most customers find it is unnecessary to soften the water further. The water has a measured pressure of 65-75 psi (pounds per square inch).

The system that brings water to your house involves miles of piping. The City is responsible for maintenance and repair of the water system up to the right-of-way line, as well as the water meter itself. The homeowner is responsible for maintenance and repair of the water system from the right-of-way line inwards. This includes the service pipe that carries water to the house from the water main service at the street and all plumbing (pipes, fixtures, etc) in or attached to the house.

Water Quality

As required by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the JWC frequently performs many stringent water quality tests on water samples taken from locations throughout each of the three communities to ensure residents are receiving safe, quality water. Results are reported annually. Download 2013 Annual Water Quality Report.

Water Main Breaks

When winter approaches and the ground begins to freeze, and in the spring when the frost goes out, water mains are prone to break. Any time you see water bubbling out of the ground, through cracks in the pavement, or from behind curbing and other places, call Utilities Maintenance at 763-593-8030 (M - F, 7 am - 3:30 pm). After hours call 763-593-8079.

Water Line Freeze-Up

Water lines can freeze during extremely cold weather, leaving people without running water. To learn more about this problem and what you can do, read the City's Feb 21, 2014 news story and FAQ sheet.

Facts About Your Water System

Where does the water come from?

The source water supply for the Minneapolis Water Works is the Mississippi River at Fridley. Water is pumped from just below where Interstate 694 crosses the river. After treatment and purification, the water is pumped to customers in Minneapolis, Columbia Heights, Hilltop, Bloomington, Edina, Crystal, Golden Valley, and New Hope. Mississippi River water is naturally much softer than ground water, and it is further softened during treatment at the Minneapolis Water Works treatment plant. This benefit saves water users the expense of purchasing and maintaining a home softening system.

The JWC’s suburban neighbors do not use this source of water. Instead, they rely on groundwater sources that are pumped, disinfected with chlorine, and delivered to customers. Over the years, the Mississippi River has been a reliable source of water. It drains such a large watershed of northern and central Minnesota that the effects of localized droughts are not often felt at the intake. However, the Mississippi River is vulnerable to contamination from human and natural sources. Increasing upstream uses and constant runoff from agricultural lands have diminished its quality over the years. Increasing human activity along its banks also increases the possibility of a hazardous chemical spill. The City of Minneapolis has been diligent in trying to protect its Mississippi River source. However, no back-up supply is available should an accident happen.

How is the water treated?

The river water is treated at the Fridley Water Filtration Plant (owned and operated by the City of Minneapolis). The quality of the river water is such that it makes it relatively easy to treat. The treatment process removes cloudiness, or turbidity, from the water by filtering it through large beds of sand, gravel, and carbon. The water is softened with lime and then disinfected with chlorine before delivery to customers.The City of Minneapolis’ treatment systems are operated in accordance with standard utility practices, and the treated water quality meets all current state and Federal regulations. The treated water is pumped through large diameter pipelines to the JWC’s storage reservoirs located in Crystal and Golden Valley.

What's the demand for water?

The three JWC Cities use about seven million gallons each day. Water demands of JWC customers have been relatively constant over the past 10 years. During the day, the amount of water used by residences and businesses fluctuates hour by hour. The JWC water storage reservoirs are big enough to meet each day’s needs, keeping the water flowing through the pipelines at an adequate pressure to meet customer needs. Water demands in the summer increase dramatically (often up to 17 million gallons each day) when residences and businesses sprinkle their lawns. The most customers have used in a single day was 20 million gallons. Adequate supplies must also be available to provide water to hydrants in the event of a fire. The JWC operates and maintains reservoirs capable of storing 28 million gallons. Operators often fill these reservoirs at night to be ready for another day of demands from customers.

How much does the water cost?

Each JWC household receives a utility bill from its City’s finance department. The water bill reflects three different costs.

  • The first is the cost to purchase treated Mississippi River water from the City of Minneapolis.
  • The second is the cost to store the water in the JWC storage reservoirs and deliver it to each member City as it needs it.
  • The third is the cost each member City incurs to deliver the water to each customer’s tap.