History of Water in Topeka Public Works - Home | Departments

The history of the City of Topeka water utility dates back to 1855 when a publicly funded well was excavated on the corner of Third Street and Kansas Avenue. This municipal well served Topeka for 25 years. In 1881, a privately managed water system, Topeka Water Supply Co., was contracted to install Topeka’s original municipal water system, which consisted of a pumping station, a large well, 150 fire hydrants and 15 miles of wooden water mains.

Ownership of Topeka’s first water system changed three times over the next several years until 1905 when the treatment facilities and distribution system were purchased by the city of Topeka for $620,000.

As the city of Topeka grew, the water system also grew in miles of connecting mains, pumping stations, hydrants and services. More important were improvements made to the treatment process, the filtration plant and the reservoir storage to reduce water-borne disease and to improve dependability of water service.

As of 2009, City of Topeka water utility has assets with a book value of $179,000,000 with an estimated replacement value of $350,000,000, and administers approximately 60,000 utility accounts, serving approximately 180,000 customers in Shawnee County and the surrounding area.

For a complete overview of Topeka's water history, read the History of Water on the Development of Topeka.

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