Most towns of even a reasonably small size, all the way up to large cities have public water systems. They can vary
in water quality, price per gallon, and water pressure.
Public water systems are relatively trouble free from the standpoint of the homeowner. The water is delivered to the
house from the main water line at the street, generally into the basement. There is almost always a valve to shut off
the house right near the water line's entrance into the house.
Very often, in older homes, this valve can be very dangerous to touch, and it is recommended that a professional checks
the condition of the valve. This valve is the only thing that the homeowner can use to stop the flow of water into the home
in an emergency. If this valve isn't working, or is corroded, or starts leaking, you could have a very serious problem,
requiring you to contact the water company as an emergency. There is another valve out at the street that they can use,
but it could take a long time to get that shut off.
The picture above shows a standard water supply, a main valve(at the very bottom, just visible), then the water meter, and then the pressure
The water pressure can vary greatly on public water systems. Most systems operate at 60psi and above. If the pressure
in a system is very high(some could be up to 150psi or more), it will need a pressure reducer. This will bring the
pressure into a safe range. Many fixtures are not rated for that much pressure and may be damaged by it.
In most cases, the water meter is owned and operated by the water company itself. If there are problems with it, then
a plumber may not be able to do anything with it. The rest of the piping, from the curb stop(outside valve) on up, is the
homeowner's responsibility. Plumbers often have to work with the
to accomplish certain
tasks with the water system.