THOMASVILLE — Thomasville was 57 years old when residents recognized the need for a municipal water supply in their young town.
In 1882, the first well was drilled on the northeast corner of the Thomas County Courthouse square, said Stacey Thomas, water superintendent. The well took two years to drill.
"They had hoped water would just flow out of the well, but a pump has to be installed, which produced 50 gallons a minute," Thomas said.
Two years later, a small water main was run along Broad Street to be used for drinking purposes and for water troughs for animals transporting people to town.
Thomas said Thomasville Water Works was born, and in 1887, a second well was drilled to meet water demand.
In 1888, the city completed its first reservoir, along with water mains of sufficient size to furnish fire protection to downtown areas.
Enter city electricity in 1906. Thomasville purchased a small electric system, and Thomasville Water Works became Thomasville Water & Light.
By 1918, the first electric well was in operation alongside the new steam-powered power plant.
The source of Thomasville's water is the Floridan aquifer.
"We're in the most plentiful access area of the Floridan aquifer," Thomas, a city employee for three decades, said.
The city water system today pumps 5.4 million gallons of water daily.
A water reservoir — a ground-level, water-holding facility — established in 1922 is still is use. Four wells pump water to the reservoir.
The city has four water tanks in the city and one at Red Hills Business Park on U.S. 319 North.
Thomas said the city has 268 miles of water mains and more than 11,00 electric meters.
The oldest city fire hydrant was installed on Jefferson Street near First Baptist Church in 1918 and is still in use today.
Thomas said that when the city softened water, the softening agent coated water pipes, which helps preserve them.
Current water main projects include:
• Wright Street main replacement
• Wood Valley Apartments main replacement
• Installation of water main fire hydrants and related services on South Pinetree Boulevard
Thomas said upcoming projects include water main upgrades and additions on Constitution and Covington avenues and on U.S 19 South.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820