A tale of two waters: Well Water vs City Water

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Well Water vs City Water

Many people are curious about getting back to nature so they don’t have to depend on local infrastructure for services. The concept of self-sufficiency is a growing branch of sustainability, which is redefining businesses of all types and sizes this decade. You may start to consider which is a better option between well water vs city water?

Studying the pros and cons of well water vs city water will help property owners decide which type of water works best for their personal or professional needs. Here’s a look at the debate between well water vs city water in terms of advantages and disadvantages.

Well Water Pros

It’s hard to hide the amazing benefits of well water, yet they are often overlooked in contemporary society. One must take certain precautions to ensure the quality of the water is healthy for drinking and cleaning, but from there a homeowner can enjoy lower-cost water that’s potentially healthier than city water. 

Well owners are responsible for their own routine water safety monitoring and testing. Installing a well water filtration system is essential for delivering the best water quality.

Cost Savings

From an economic standpoint on well water vs city water, homeowners can certainly save plenty of money with their own private wells. One of the top benefits of well water is that it cuts monthly costs on municipal water. 

Homeowners also should look at federal and state tax credit options that can lower costs further. The government has various programs for citizens and businesses to adopt sustainability practices that help take the strain off local infrastructure. 

Once a well is drilled, the owner has access to unlimited water supply that isn’t controlled by regulators.

Healthier to Drink

Since well water comes straight from the earth without being treated with various chemicals, it’s potentially much healthier to drink as long as it’s clean. Most well problems can be serviced by water treatment professionals with proper equipment. 

When a homeowner hires a contractor to install a well, it should be an experienced well driller that understands how to ensure water retains its nutrients from the soil. For the most part, well water usually is safe for drinking, as many people say it even tastes better and it’s more refreshing than municipal water. 

Well water often filters through limestone, giving it a richer flavor than water filtered through municipal systems. Water can taste differently from place to place, as it usually tastes better the more it retains nutrients and minerals.

Not affected by Natural Disasters

One of the major strengths of water wells during flooding is that they typically aren’t affected by water contamination that spreads through municipal systems.

Increased Property Value

Wells provide other advantages that make them strong solutions for sustainability. Certain wells designed to produce water for drinking and cleaning increase property value for homeowners. Irrigation-based wells do not increase property value as much, but help farmers cut short-term water costs.

Environmentally Friendly 

The fact that wells cut costs on municipal water makes them economically and environmentally sustainable. Wells are considered eco-friendly because they provide cleaner, healthier and more pure water than municipal systems. They also put less strain on the ecosystem because significantly less people use wells.

Well Water is Reliable

Another major advantage to wells is reliability. Depending on the type of well installed, it can be a durable solution that lasts for decades. Having your own well is like being off-grid, so you won’t be affected by shortages in the municipal water system.

Well Water Cons

Part of understanding the pros and cons of well water is to think outside the box and visualize what’s best for society. Humans have a natural connection with water, so many people naturally perceive all water to be clean and pure. This lack of understanding about the ecology and the impacts of industrialism can lead to high risk decision making about water.

Quality and Maintenance in on you 

As indicated earlier, well water requires quality control to be practiced by the property owner. If the land owner does not conduct safety tests, the water could contain contaminants that are harmful to health. Other problems with well water can include hardness and too much concentration of iron and hydrogen sulfide. Some of the toxic chemicals that can appear in well water include nitrates, arsenic and lead.


Water is not safe to drink if it contains contaminants and high concentrations of certain minerals, particularly iron. Well water composed of too much iron can cause items like silverware cleaned with the water to rust. 

This problem can be detected from stains on clothes that have just completed the laundry cycle. But the problem can be mitigated with a well water filtration system. Well owners may also sometimes need to figure out why the water develops an unpleasant taste or odor. 

If the water is contaminated with harmful bacteria, it can cause serious illness, which may affect the liver, kidneys and intestines. Polluted water may contain various types of microorganisms that can lead to gastrointestinal disorders. If the water contains a toxin like arsenic, cancer can develop, as well as heart problems.

Dependant on Electricity 

Another major concern to keep in mind involving well water is that the pump usually depends on electricity. So if the utility has a power outage, the well owner will be without power for as long as the outage, unless they have a backup generator. Owners should also understand when a well runs dry, it’s not the city’s problem.

City Water Pros

Regulated and Quality Controlled 

Unlike well water, city water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), so water quality must constantly pass safety tests and meet standards. One of the most common issues in the well water vs city water debate is contamination. 

Since the city is responsible for providing clean water, it is prepared to take safety tests on water for any of its customers. Usually the city or a regional board controls the water supply as well, as it controls both quality and quantity of distributed water in the community.

Mortgage Lenders Prefer City Water 

Since city water is more familiar to residents and professionals than well water, it is more readily available in more places. City water is the preference of mortgage lenders, who in general are more connected with infrastructure and conventional systems than DIY or alternative systems. 

Financial professionals view clean city water as more predictable and reliable than well water from a risk management perspective. City water is also already connected to most homes except in rural areas.

City Water is Reliable 

Part of what makes municipal water systems powerful is that they serve most of the public with a reputation for reliability. In the United States there are over 150,000 public water systems in use, according to the CDC. About 8 percent of these water systems provide water to 82% of Americans.

Added Nutrients 

Not only is city water tested thoroughly on a regular basis, water utilities add nutrients and minerals to water to replace those lost in the filtering process. So using city water has less health risks on the surface, except during certain natural disasters such as flooding.

Future Technological Advancements 

Another strong point about local water utilities is that many are moving toward digital transformation, in which Internet of Things (IoT) sensors monitor water supply. Real-time digital monitoring can help consumers conserve water and lower monthly payments. 

IoT technology can also alert water utility officials when there’s a pipe leak in the system. The more the utility can cut water waste, the better rates it can offer customers.

City Water Cons


Weighing the pros and cons of well water vs. city water will help property owners determine if they should invest thousands of dollars in a well or go the simpler path and use city water. But city water comes with monthly bills that add up to much higher expenses over time. 

Sometimes bills can be unpredictably higher than normal. During a drought officials might place restrictions on water use, which would not be the case for well owners. Water shortages can lead to spikes in water prices, which is why many utilities are moving toward digital meters that help consumers check usage in real time via smartphone apps.

Many people already don’t like the idea of paying for water, which covers the planet. But city water must be treated with expensive equipment to ensure safety, so part of the monthly payment goes toward water testing and treatment. Another problem homeowners face with city water is they can have their water shut off if they fail to pay bills.

Floods Spread Contaminants 

The biggest danger with city water is that the system can spread contaminants to a broad area quickly following a flood. Sometimes it can take years to fix a contaminated water system, in which an entire community must suffer consequences from decisions made by officials. 

Such was the case with the Flint, Michigan water crisis in 2016 when the governor declared a state of emergency for the town a year after city officials stated its water was safe. Doctors and scientists found high toxic levels of lead in the water as some officials eventually faced heavy criticism, lawsuits and even criminal charges.

Contains Trace amounts of Chemicals 

Although city water is filtered, trace amounts of treatment chemicals may remain, which can be controversial. It’s not clear what the long-term health effects are of drinking water with trace amounts of toxins. Furthermore, the filtration process can give water a blander taste than what comes directly from the ground.


Considering the differences between well water and city water helps property owners determine if they should invest in a well or go the simpler path and use city water. It’s much less of a hassle to use city water already piped into a home or building than to drill a well. But once the property owner completes well construction, all they have to do is manage the water for safety and literally save thousands of dollars over many years.

The H2Home Lab team is dedicated to helping you find the best solutions to your specific water needs, as well as provide troubleshooting tips and guides for water filtration, heating, softening and plumbing. We hope you will find the info you need on our site from any one of our buying guides or subject matter articles.

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