August is National Water Quality Month

Everyone uses our public water supply-even those with a well

Mon, 08/15/2022 - 10:15am

Have you ever considered why Boothbay is the only one of the seven major Midcoast peninsulas that has a sizable town at its end? It’s because Boothbay is the only peninsula that has a public water supply. The surface water found towards the end of the Boothbay peninsula in Adams Pond and the Knickerbocker Lakes simply does not exist in such quantity on the other Midcoast peninsulas. And for more than 150 years, Boothbay’s public water supply has been critical to its economic health.

Starting as far back as 1869, residents of the Boothbay peninsula began to plan for a public water supply. Disputes over funding a water system led to Boothbay Harbor’s separation from Boothbay in 1889. It was also in 1889 when the predecessor to the Boothbay Region Water District first acquired rights to use the water in Adams Pond.

Today, almost every business, governmental organization and non-profit on the Boothbay peninsula obtains its water exclusively from our public water supply at Adams Pond and the Knickerbocker Lakes. Our schools and almost one half of all the homes in the lower peninsula also obtain their water from our public supply. So even if your home has a well to supply your drinking water, you still use the public water supply frequently and throughout the year.

If you eat at one of our local restaurants, the tap water they serve is from the public supply and the dishes you eat from were washed with water from our public supply; or

If your child attends a public school, the water they drink at school comes from our public supply; or

If your child attends the YMCA Camp at Knickerbocker Lake, your child will swim in water that is our public supply; or

If you visit one of our local breweries, the beer you drink was made with water from our public supply; or

If you have received health care at any of our local medical facilities, you can be assured that they rely on the public water supply; or

If you use one of our local public bathrooms, you use water from our public supply; and,

The local groceries all clean their stores and shelves with water from our public supply.

And how we love to use the water from our public supply ... the average amount taken every year from Adams Pond and Knickerbocker Lake exceeds 200 million gallons! The Boothbay Region Water District supplies drinking water to more than 3,850 customers, 459 of which are businesses, nonprofits and governmental units. On a peak summer day, the people of the Boothbay peninsula can draw more than 1 million gallons from the public water supply.

The public water supply for the Boothbay peninsula is critical to the economic well-being of our entire community and the stores and businesses you rely on every day. In its 2015 Comprehensive Plan, the Town of Boothbay stated that … "Maintaining both the quality and quantity of the supplies for both the public and private water supply systems is a key issue for the community.” It is for that reason we ask everyone to consider joining our efforts to preserve the quality of our drinking water by conserving the watersheds for Adams Pond and the Knickerbocker Lakes.

The mission of the Boothbay Region Clean Drinking Water Initiative is simply – “To forever safeguard the Boothbay Region public drinking water supply through land conservation, education, stewardship and community collaboration.

As of today, sufficient undeveloped land within the watersheds exists to realize the Initiative’s goals of conserving in its natural state about 75% of that land, but we do not expect that land to remain undeveloped for long. Like so many areas of Maine, the last two years have produced explosive growth on the Boothbay peninsula. Some estimates suggest that since 2019 sales of homes on the peninsula increased by more than 140%. The starting point for ensuring the peninsula’s quality of life and continued economic growth is to have an adequate supply of clean drinking water for everyone — residents and visitors alike.

If you would like to support our mission or for more information, please contact us at