Drinking water on Nantucket comes from two freshwater underground aquifers, located deep beneath the island. Rainfall naturally recharges the aquifer. Properties that are not serviced by Town or Sconset water have private wells. For those on town water, Wannacomet Water Company draws substantial quantities of water from two public wellﬁelds to supply the island. There are two large water towers for storage, one on Washing Pond Road and the other oﬀ Milestone Road. ‘Sconset has its own water supply and water tower. In 1984 the Environmental Protection Agency designated Nantucket as a sole source aquifer, prompting guidelines for better management and protection of our water supply. According to water company oﬃcials, there is plenty of water for the island; it is the quality of it that we must protect.
Because Nantucket has coarse sandy soil conditions, rainfall can easily ﬁlter through to the aquifers. As more development occurs, creating more impervious surfaces, there is also the potential for pollutants to reach our ponds and harbors as well as our water supply. Wannacomet Water Company has programs in place to educate and inform the public about the need to protect our water resources. They also carefully monitor our island’s water supply and provide a comprehensive annual water quality report.
A quick note about fertilizer: there is evidence that, among other things, fertilizer runoﬀ is contributing to the degradation of the water quality in Nantucket’s harbors. The greener the lawns, the higher the use of fertilizer and for a number of years there have been strict regulations in place regarding their use. At the 2022 Annual Town Meeting an act prohibiting the application of fertilizers was passed as a Home Rule Petition. This will have to be approved at the state level before being implemented. Stay tuned.