Thirsty for water knowledge?

From our recreation services to the Youth Water Academy and free tours of our facilities, OWASA wants to help you learn about our most vital resource – and have fun while doing so.

Here’s the community that OWASA serves.

Where there’s water, there’s OWASA. We are in every faucet, meter, manhole and local reservoir, so we consider ourselves members and stewards of the Carrboro-Chapel Hill community as much as we are the managers of the water supply. We want to serve you, not just your water needs.

Our Vision

With the sole responsibility of managing Carrboro-Chapel Hill’s water systems, we aim to provide you with unparalleled service, exceeding your expectations and bettering our community. We are a trusted steward of the communal, environmental and financial resources we manage.

Our Mission

As a community-owned utility, our goal is to reliably provide you with high-quality water, wastewater and reclaimed-water services through responsible and creative stewardship of the resources we manage.

Our Values

OWASA’s core values drive our mission, and the entire OWASA team strives to fulfill them every day.

High-Quality Drinking Water

We provide high-quality drinking water to you through effective management and operation of our water supply, distribution and treatment systems.

Environmental Responsibility

We protect our environment through effective management and operation of our wastewater collection, water reuse, resource recovery and treatment systems. We strive to manage our resources in a sustainable, environmentally responsible manner.

Excellent Customer Service

We always do our best to provide excellent service to you. We lead the industry in engaging our customers, and we extend to you a sincere invitation for opportunities to participate in decisions important to you.

Our Employees

We value our employees as our most important resource, so we provide them competitive compensation and a safe, rewarding work environment that promotes diversity and equal opportunity for all. In fact, OWASA has been designated as a Certified Orange County Living Wage Employer for years.

Affordability & Value

We devote the full measure of our energy and resources to provide you with the best value and services more affordably, and we commit ourselves to continuous improvement.


We embrace the principles of environmental, social and economic sustainability. We endeavor to optimize our local water resources and promote staunch conservation of water, energy and other natural resources.

Community Support

We are here to serve you, and we are here to help the community. We provide services consistent with the growth management and land-use plans of Orange County, the Town of Carrboro and the Town of Chapel Hill. We maintain open and positive communication with our member governments and neighboring water utilities, and we cooperate in regional initiatives when appropriate and consistent with OWASA’s commitment to the communities we serve.

Innovation & Creativity

We constantly seek innovation and creative methods to accomplish our mission and enhance our services.

History of OWASA

Before OWASA was established, three individual systems provided water and sewer services for southern Orange County. Each one was separately operated, independently owned and exclusively served the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Town of Carrboro and the Town of Chapel Hill. Cooperation between the whole Carrboro-Chapel Hill community and the State of North Carolina led to OWASA’s creation.


The 1970s brought rapid growth to the community. In November 1971, Governor Robert W. Scott appointed a Utilities Study Commission to assess the feasibility of retaining, selling or otherwise disposing of the water and sewer systems operated by the University. After nearly five years of analysis, the commission devised a best course of action: the transformation of the University’s water and sewer utility system and related properties into a public entity, serving both the school and the community.


In 1976, the governing bodies of the Town of Carrboro, the Town of Chapel Hill and Orange County determined to organize a water and sewer authority as the appropriate structure to acquire and operate the utilities. And so, OWASA was officially born when the University, the Town of Chapel Hill and the Town of Carrboro executed the Agreements of Sale and Purchase of the three separate water and sewer systems that year.


We took our first steps to bettering the community’s water infrastructure when we commenced operations on February 16, 1977.


Decades after its birth, OWASA still provides high-quality drinking water, wastewater and reclaimed water service to the entire Carrboro-Chapel Hill community.

Our Commitment to Our Customers

  • To serve you fairly, helpfully, efficiently and positively.
  • To communicate with you honestly, respectfully, courteously and directly.
  • To devote our full attention to you in listening, understanding and responding.
  • To provide you accurate and timely information.
  • To deliver a complete response to any question or request.
  • To resolve any request or question to which we cannot immediately reply.
  • To describe your options when choices are available to you.
  • To connect you with the OWASA employee who can best fulfill your needs.
  • To invite and value your feedback on how we can improve our services.
  • To explain how and to whom you can appeal if you disagree with a decision by OWASA staff.
  • To seek continuous improvement and efficiency in our services, facilities and operations.
  • To remember always that our purpose is to serve the community. We are here to serve you!

Our Awards

We are committed to delivering high-quality drinking water to our customers, and the water industry consistently recognizes our commitment to that end.


Director’s Award


Excellence in Water Treatment Award


National Award for Sustainable Water-Utility Management


Five-Year Excellence in Water Treatment Award


President’s Award for Distribution System Operation