What is a Water Main?


A water main, also known as a primary feeder, is the primary line that transports water from a water treatment and purification plant to consumers. They connect to secondary feeders in order to expand the reach of a typical water distribution network. To get the water supply, structures have to connect to these secondary feeders for their water needs. It is important to keep the water mains in good shape so that you can continue enjoying a steady supply of clean water. Without water mains, homes would find it difficult to tap into the water distribution network for their water supply. Moreover, a water main provides a way to connect easily with a primary water source along the road or next to the house.

How Does it Work?

The primary function of a water distribution network is to transport water from a treatment and purification plant to consumers. It is often the work of the municipality to provide water storage and ensure the water is supplied at adequate pressure. The water needs determine the size of water mains, storage reservoir, and pump station capacity.

So how does a water main operate?

  1. After the water is treated and tested for standards, it is pumped to household taps
  2. The treated water is passed through the water supply tunnel
  3. From there it reaches distribution mains (water mains) and drawn into smaller community pipes
  4. Installed water meters log this water entering every community
  5. Water mains are fitted with valves (ball valves and gate valves) that control the water coming from the external water line into your home. Ball valves are commonly installed, as they are more dependable than gate valves
  6. A ball valve opens when the handle aligns with the pipe and closes when the handle turns perpendicular to the pipe (90 degrees). This controls the flow of water to your home
  7. The water is then passed to the pipes that carry water to your home

The Benefits of a Water Main

  1. The water main connects you to the water supply tunnel.
  2. It allows you to tap into the water distribution network and get water supply for home use
  3. Controls the water coming to your home. You can use it turn-off the water coming to your home, especially during plumbing repairs or during winterization
  4. If your home piping is broken, you can use the water main to shut off the water supply to your home before it causes flooding. Then you can call a plumber to come and repair the mess.
  5. Valves in the water mains can be used to achieve the desired pressure or flow. They also protect the water supply from contamination.

Because water is a basic commodity, homes must have access to potable water at all times. Fortunately, this is made possible by water mains, which allow households to tap into the water distribution network for their water supply. Without water mains, it would be very difficult for homes to have access to the water they need for various purposes. You need a plumber to install, replace, repair, or maintain your water main, especially if have no prior plumbing experience.