About the Water System

Rockford Water Process Video

Have you ever wondered where your water comes from and how it gets to you? Watch the video below to learn about the City of Rockford’s Water Process.

The Water System

The City uses groundwater as the source of its water supply. The City does not utilize a centralized water treatment plant. Instead, water is treated at the well sites with fluoride, polyphosphates, and chlorine. To ensure the safety of the water, samples are continuously tested at state-approved laboratories.

The Water Division is the largest municipally-owned groundwater system in Illinois. Water is obtained from 30 wells (not the Rock River). There are 28 reservoirs and 2 elevated tanks. Annual production is 7.6 billion gallons. The average consumption is approximately 16.7 million gallons per day, but the system is capable of producing up to 40.0 million gallons per day.

Water Supply Diagram

Water is drawn from the aquifers using 30 wells, which are generally evenly spaced at 26 locations throughout the City (average good density is approximately one well every 2.5 square miles). The wells vary from less than 200 feet to more than 1500 feet deep.

Treated water is pumped from storage directly into the water distribution system using booster pumps. In 2008, the City brought its first filtration plants online as part of the water system improvement project. At the conclusion of the project in 2012, there will be a total of 10 filtration plants. These plants are specifically designed to remove iron, manganese, and radium from our drinking water.

System Improvements

The Rockford Water System Improvement Project was a $75 million program of capital improvements undertaken by the City of Rockford to rehabilitate key elements of the City's water system infrastructure and dramatically increase the level of service provided to its customers. The project was completed in 2012, meeting all key objectives in the areas of improved water quality, service pressures, reliability, and appearance.

The City of Rockford Water System Improvement Project was awarded Public Works Project of the Year for 2011. The award was for projects focusing on the Environment -$10 million to $100 million category by the Illinois Chapter of the American Public Works Association. The award was presented to Rockford Public Works Director Timothy Hanson and Water Division Superintendent Tim Holdeman at the organization's Chapter Conference in Peoria, Illinois on Friday, May 6, 2011. View American Public Works, Illinois Chapter Award Nomination Information: View the nomination submission (PDF).


  • Seven New Filtration Plants
  • Nine Renovated Facilities
  • 12 Miles of Water Main New Hydraulic Zone established
  • New Pumping Station
  • Upgraded System Control


  • 75% Reduction in Iron
  • 30% Fewer Water Quality Complaints
  • 100% Radium Compliance
  • Improved Water Service Pressure
  • Enhanced System Reliability