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Did You

  • The cost of one bottle of water from a vending machine is equivalent to the cost of drinking 8 glasses of tap water every day for a year.
  • A gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds.
  • The Water Authority maintains almost 1500 miles of drinking water pipes. If you put them end-to-end, they would stretch from Roanoke to Colorado Springs, CO.
  • At one drip per second, a faucet can leak 3,000 gallons of water per year.
  • Water is the only substance naturally found on earth as a solid, liquid and gas.
  • Over 713 gallons of water go into the production of one cotton T-shirt.
  • The Authority’s Water Pollution Control Plant is regarded as one of the best bird-watching areas in the mid-Atlantic region.
  • The Water Authority maintains over 6,000 fire hydrants in our service area. Fire hydrants are connected to the public drinking water distribution lines, so water from a fire hydrant is drinking water.
  • There are over 23,000 manholes in our service area.
  • Carvins Cove Natural Reserve is the second largest municipal park in the United States.
  • The Authority’s Water Pollution Control Plant covers over 100 acres of land.
  • More people in the world have a mobile phone than have a toilet.
  • The Water Authority treats 19-million gallons of drinking water a day although we have the capacity to treat 56-million gallons per day.
  • The Authority’s Water Pollution Control Plant treats almost 37-million gallons of wastewater a day from all across the Roanoke Valley.
  • There are 51 drinking water storage tanks in our service area. They each hold between 500,000 – 2-million gallons of water.
  • Most of the treated drinking water used in a home is for toilet flushing.

water drops



Water Sources and Treatment

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spring hollow in the spring
Crystal Spring
Winter at CC Natural Reserve
roanoke river
spring hollow dam early morning
spring hollow fall leaves
Carvins Cove reflection

The Western Virginia Water Authority utilizes five surface water sources and multiple springs and wells as drinking water sources.  Having an abundant supply of water helps protect against drought or other emergencies.  The Authority is in full compliance with all state and federal monitoring and requirements and is pleased to deliver an excellent product and superior service.  For more information on water treatment, please see the annual Water Quality Report.

View a video of the Spring Hollow and Carvins Cove Reservoirs created by Autonomous Flight Technologies.

Carvins Cove Reservoir 

Cove2Carvins Cove Reservoir is situated within Carvins Cove Natural Reserve, a 12,672-acre watershed near Hollins University in Botetourt County.  In addition to receiving water from the watershed, the reservoir is fed from two underground tunnels that carry overflow from Tinker and Catawba Creeks. This surface water source covers 630 acres and stores 6.42-billion gallons of water at full pond.  Current reservoir levels are updated daily. 



How is it treated?  

Oxygen is added to the water in the Carvins Cove reservoir and then chlorine dioxide is added as the water flows through pipes to the treatment plant.  This process helps to oxidize dissolved organic matter, iron and manganese.  At the Carvins Cove Water Treatment Facility, which has the capacity to treat 28-million gallons of water from the reservoir every day,  water is aerated to remove naturally occurring dissolved gases and to oxidize dissolved metals. After a multi-step flocculation and settling process, the water is filtered through gravel, sand and carbon and disinfected with chlorine. Fluoride is added to promote strong teeth, and orthophosphate is added to control corrosion in pipes.

The land around the reservoir, Carvins Cove Natural Reserve is open to the public for hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing and boating.


Spring Hollow Reservoir 

Spring Hollow 1The water stored in the Spring Hollow Reservoir comes from the Roanoke River and is pumped into this 3.2-billion gallon side-stream storage reservoir.  Spring Hollow Reservoir levels are updated daily.


How is it treated?

Water is withdrawn from the reservoir, oxygenated and treated with chlorine dioxide to oxidize dissolved organic matter, iron and manganese.  Treatment at the Spring Hollow Treatment Facility includes clarification, filtration, chlorine disinfection and fluoridation.  The Spring Hollow Water Treatment Facility currently has the capacity to treat 18-million gallons of water a day and can be expanded to 36-million gallons a day. Treated water is stored in a two-million gallon storage tank then pumped through the north and south transmission lines to the distribution system. The current usage averages 4.25-million gallons a day. During an emergency, standby wells may be used to supplement the source water. 


Crystal Spring


The Water Authority’s oldest drinking water source, Crystal Spring, flows at the base of Mill Mountain in the southern part of the city. This groundwater source provides an average flow of 4.25-million gallons of water a day.  

How is it treated?

The water is pumped into the Crystal Spring Ultrafiltration Treatment Facility which filters out all particles larger than 0.01 micron. One micron is one thousandth of a millimeter. Filtered water is treated with chlorine and fluoride and pumped to water customers from the Crystal Spring Pumping Station.  


Crystal Spring is also home to the Snow Steam Pump, a historic pump that was utilized to pump water from Crystal Spring into the downtown Roanoke area from 1905 - 1957.  The pump was purchased from the Snow Steam Pump Works of Buffalo, NY for $16,320.  Free tours of the Snow Steam Pump are offered by the History Museum of Western Virginia May-Sept on Saturdays (12-4) and Sundays (1-4).  Groups wishing to see the facility at other times may contact the Western Virginia Water Authority at


Beaverdam Creek and Falling Creek Reservoirs

FallingCreek1Falling Creek Reservoir is a surface water source located in Bedford County east of Vinton. It covers 21 acres and stores 85-million gallons of  water at full pond. It is fed by Beaverdam Creek Reservoir, which covers 69 acres and stores 435-million gallons of water at full pond. 

How is it treated?

 The treatment process of this water source is similar to that of Spring Hollow Treatment Facility; treatment capacity is 1.5-million gallons a day.


Smith Mountain Lake

SML1The Western Virignia Water Authority jointly owns and operates the Smith Mountain Lake Water Treatment Plant with the Bedford Regional Water Authority (BRWA) to provide treated drinking water from Smith Mountain Lake to our customers in the Franklin County via the Westlake Area Water System.   

How is it treated?

 Water from Smith Mountain Lake is screened through 500 micron woven mesh stainless steel strainers to remove fine silt and then pumped to the treatment facility. The membrane plant has 216 modules that each have 10,000 membrane filter strands to provide the unique water treatment capability.  The membranes can filter out particles larger than 0.02 microns.  After filtration, the water is treated with sodium hypochlorite, a required disintectant to eliminate bacteria.  The finished water in the distribution system is re-chlorinated at The Boardwalk, The Waterfront Section 2-9 subdivisions and at Burnt Chimney for continuous chlorination. 



wellheadThe Authority maintains over 72 wells in the distribution area.  Some of the wells are inactive while many serve communities that are farther away from the main distribution system.  The wells that are inactive offer an additional supply of water if needed.






For more information on water treatment, please see the annual Water Quality Report.