Support Us Button Widget

Why Greenville’s drinking water is some of the best in the US

From winning awards to protecting wildlife, you may not know these facts about Greenville’s drinking water.

water piece

“World’s finest drinking water,” indeed. | Photo via Greenville County Library System

Table of Contents

As we celebrate Greenville’s beverages and beverage community during Drink Up, today we’re honoring — arguably — Greenville’s best drink: water.

Today, Greenville Water serves 500,000+ residents in the Upstate and sources from three reservoirs: Table Rock Reservoir, North Saluda Reservoir, and Lake Keowee.

According to the 2022 Water Quality Report, Greenville water meets Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards and has won multiple “Best Taste” awards.

Did you know?

  • The Greenville Watersheds are virtually 100% forested with 100+ miles of permanent streams. Public access to these lands is restricted, which is why Greenville Water is nationally known for providing some of the purest and best-tasting drinking water in the country.
  • The Greenville Watersheds house a diverse wildlife including bats, the pickerel frog, common raven, black bear, wood rat, green salamander, and the peregrine falcon (which is federally threatened).
  • There are currently 16 known species of fish and possibly up to 28 others that thrive in these clear cool waters including brook trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, bream, crappie, pumpkinseed, redear sunfish, and bluegill.

Learn how water flows through Greenville at the Roper Mountain Science Center. | Photos by GVLtoday

We learned these facts at the Roper Mountain Science Center’s exhibit “Our Water Story.” Stop by for hands-on learning with Greenville Water and ReWa during Summer Adventure, which ends Saturday, July 29. As fall rolls around, you can visit during Afternoon Explorations beginning Wednesday, September 13.

The history

What events trickled down in years past for our water to be the best?

Let’s look at some pivotal moments that made Greenville’s water what it is today:


1889: The American Pipe Manufacturing Company of Philadelphia, PA builds the first water system in Greenville, which served 8,600 residents.

lake placid

Reservoir No. 2 at Paris Mountain | Photo via Greenville County Library System

1899: The company becomes known as Paris Mountain Water Company + builds the first reservoir on the northeast slope of Paris Mountain to serve Greenville. A 12-inch water main (think: about half as wide as the length of a loaf of Swamp Rabbit’s Stecca) ran eight miles to Greenville, carrying the water by gravity. A second reservoir was built at a lower elevation on Paris Mountain in 1900.

1918: The Commissioner of Public Works of the City of Greenville purchases the original water system from Paris Mountain Water Company.


1920s-1930s: The Table Rock Watershed is purchased — making history as the first water system to have full land ownership for a drinking reservoir — and Table Rock Reservoir is constructed + begins operation.

1950s: The North Saluda Watershed is purchased and the Poinsett Reservoir (aka North Saluda Reservoir) is constructed to support Greenville’s growing population.

1985: Lake Keowee is added as another Greenville water source and the Witty Adkins Water Treatment Plant opens in Pickens County.

1993: The Greenville Water Commission grants a conservation easement to The Nature Conservancy, a global land conservation organization, to further protect the land.


2000: The Lyndon B. Stovall Water Treatment Plant is built — this plant uses Dissolved Air Flotation technology prior to filtration, which filters water almost 10 times clearer than required standards.

2000s-2010s: Greenville Water wins “Best of the Best” Water Taste Test in 2011, and is named “Best Tasting” water in SC three times.

Cheers to keeping hydrated with the best of the best, GVL. Stay up to date on the latest from Greenville Water and learn more about the organization here.

More from GVLtoday
We’ve been on pins and needles waiting to announce this news, and we’re not gonna spare any details.
A Greenville Parks and Recreation employee built a “duck rescue bridge” at Legacy Park to help our feathered friends safely exit the pond.
Sip on non-alcoholic beers and wines + craft mocktails in Greenville
A turn of phrase here, a recognizable Greenville nod there — these craft beers found around our city take local pride seriously.
This week — Monday, July 22-Friday, July 26, 2024 — we’re shining a spotlight on the vibrant drink scene in Greenville.
The eighth-annual Iron Caterer Throwdown puts local chefs to the test as they create dishes with three secret ingredients.
Whether you’re spending a day or a lifetime in Greenville, South Carolina, these are among the best free activities that the city has to offer.
What was Greenville like at the turn of the millennium? We took a look back at the final year of the 20th century to see what life was like pre-Y2K.
Are you fluent in emojis? Test your local knowledge by deciphering these Greenville landmarks + businesses written in emoji form.