How Much does US Tap Water Cost?

Tap water in the United States costs about $0.01 US Dollars — 1 penny — for 5 gallons (20 liters). Bottled water costs anywhere from 240 to 10,000 times more than water from the tap. For the price of an average bottle of packaged water, a consumer could get 1,000 gallons (3,785 liters) of tap water — and that's not even considering the environmental damages of garbage and energy caused by bottling water.

More Water Facts:

  • The plastic used in the bottled water Americans consume each year uses more than 47 million gallons (1.8 million liters) of oil — the equivalent of 100,000 cars on the road.

  • The Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducted a study of 100 US cities with populations of more than 250,000 and found more than 315 pollutants in the water — most of which are not regulated by government standards and can be legally present in any amount. The study showed the city with the best water was Arlington, Texas, and the worst water was found in Pensacola, Florida.

  • Water utility companies in the US that serve areas of more than 100,000 people are required to send a water-quality report to all residents each July 1. In areas with fewer residents, reports can be requested individually from the water utility company.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does tap water typically cost in the United States?

According to the American Water Works Association, the average cost of tap water in the United States is about $1.50 for 1,000 gallons, which translates to approximately 0.15 cents per gallon. This cost can vary significantly depending on the region, the local water infrastructure, and the water source. Urban areas might have higher rates due to more extensive treatment and delivery systems.

What factors influence the cost of tap water in different regions of the US?

The cost of tap water in the US is influenced by several factors, including the source of the water, the level of treatment required, the age and maintenance needs of the water infrastructure, and local government policies. For example, areas that source water from contaminated or scarce sources may have higher treatment costs, while regions with older pipes may face higher maintenance expenses, both of which can drive up the price for consumers.

Is tap water more cost-effective than bottled water?

Yes, tap water is significantly more cost-effective than bottled water. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that tap water costs less than $0.01 per gallon on average, while bottled water can cost over $1 per gallon, making tap water about 100 times less expensive than its bottled counterpart. Additionally, tap water is subject to stringent quality regulations, making it a safe and economical choice for most households.

How can I find out the exact cost of tap water in my local area?

To find out the exact cost of tap water in your local area, you can contact your municipal water provider directly. They can provide you with the current rates and any additional fees that may apply to your water bill. Additionally, many water providers publish their rate schedules on their official websites, allowing residents to access this information conveniently online.

Are there any additional fees or charges that can affect my tap water bill?

Yes, there can be additional fees or charges that affect your tap water bill. These may include service fees, infrastructure improvement charges, or environmental compliance fees. Some utilities also charge tiered rates, where the cost per gallon increases as usage goes up, to encourage water conservation. It's important to review your water bill details or contact your local water provider to understand all the components of your bill.

More Info:

Discussion Comments


In the movie Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning, John, the main character, spent 9 months in the hospital. During all that time kitchen tap was leaking. It cost him about $58.32.


Most leaks drip only 1-2 gallons a day though, so that's around 70 cents to $2 a year. The relentless noise takes quite a toll on my sanity, though.


A leak that fills an 8 ounce glass in one minute will cost you $240/year extra.


My new year's resolution is to waste less water!

Post your comments
Forgot password?