Philadelphia, one of the earliest innovators, got serious about building a water system after an epidemic of yellow fever killed about 10 percent of its population. The city installed miles of iron pipes, and, after a disappointing experiment in moving water with steam power, it upgraded to waterwheels. New York City built an expensive aqueduct from a reservoir in Westchester County in 1842, becoming one of the first in the country to use water from outside its own borders. Today the city draws from three lakes and nineteen reservoirs to move more than 1 billion gallons of water each day, and its crystal-clear quality is among the best in the country.
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