Welcome to the Department of Water Management

The Department of Water Management maintains the City’s pipes, plants, and facilities and provides essential services. Our more than 350 water professionals deliver pure, clean drinking water to the people of Durham 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Quick response teams fix water main breaks, sewer overflows, and other emergencies. We also treat used water at reclamation facilities before safely returning it to the environment.

Durham Water has returned to Regular Billing Practices

We know that many in our community have lost their jobs, businesses, and healthcare coverage in this pandemic. To provide support, we decided in early March to stop disconnecting residential water customers for nonpayment. Three weeks later, Governor Roy Cooper issued an Executive Order suspending disconnects by utilities statewide. That Order expired at midnight on July 29, 2020. 

Our ability to provide safe drinking water to Durham’s residents and visitors is fully funded by revenue from water bills. This is why all customers have continued to receive their monthly bills showing how much water was used and the amount that is owed, including any past due balance. We want our customers to know that cutoffs for nonpayment resumed on September 16. Other regional water utilities are following a similar timeline. If you fell behind on payments while this Executive Order was in effect, support remains available. We have trained staff in Customer Billing Services who are ready to help.

We don’t want anyone to go without water. For more information about payments, the Water Hardship Fund, or other community resources, please select one of the options below or contact Durham One Call at 919-560-1200.

Smoke Testing to Run Sept. 24 - Oct. 1
Orange sign that says, "Smoke testing in progress" with a smoky street in the background.Map of areas that will be smoke tested. Opens in new window

One of our contractors will conduct smoke testing in a few Durham neighborhoods beginning on Thursday, September 24. These tests will continue for about a week in the following areas. For a closer look, reference the project map (PDF).

  • Landon Farms
  • Northeast Hills
  • Geer Street
  • Midland Woods

Smoke testing is used to identify and repair potential problems in the sanitary sewer system. The smoke is nontoxic and does not leave stains or residue. It's similar to fog machines, is white or gray in color, and has a slight fragrance.

Most importantly, it is NOT a fire hazard. 

Contact us at (919)560-4381 with any questions. And thank you for your patience while we complete this work!

  1. Get a Free Fat Trapper!
  2. Pay at Western Union
  3. Educational Activities
  4. Imagine a Day Without Water

Get a Free Fat Trapper!

Collection of items that come in the fat trapper kit.

Pouring fats, oils or grease (FOG) down the drain can lead to blocked pipes, household plumbing problems, and sewer overflows. And overflows can have potentially serious environmental health impacts. The easiest way to help prevent overflows is to keep grease out of the sink.

That's why we're happy to provide free Fat Trappers! These small grease collection units are convenient to keep in your kitchen and simple to use at home. To request a complimentary Fat Trapper or refill bags, just complete the online form!

And if you'd like to learn more about how FOG and wipes clog pipes, check out this year’s sewer report. It covers the first three months of the pandemic, and we encourage you to take a look at the full document, which includes information on spills and overflows that occurred in FY 2020.

What Our Workers Do for the Community

Two water workers with cones alongside a large work truck on a city residential street.


We’re out repairing pipes, operating vehicles, and installing water meters. We’re the ones who rush to the scene of a water main break or sewer overflow and stay on the job until it’s fixed. Our goal is to provide affordable water and sewer service, create a quality customer experience, and meet all legal and regulatory requirements to keep our people and environment healthy, thriving, and strong.

Wayne Drop mascot with a group of happy elementary school students.WE PROMOTE WATER CONSERVATION

We offer an active water conservation and public education program. The following resources (PDF) are available for schools, civic groups, and interested residents in our service area. Call Conservation Program staff in the Department of Water Management at 919-560-4381 to borrow videos, schedule presentations or request additional information. Presentations can be also be requested using our online request form.

Spanish language educator working with children at a community event to promote games about water.WE REACH OUT TO SAVE WATER

That’s a top priority, so we work with customers to reduce water demand and maximize efficiency. We are a proud EPA WaterSense® Partner, and in 2019 Durham was once again recognized by the EPA for our commitment with a WaterSense Excellence Award. Two popular initiatives that help our customers to improve their water efficiency are the Toilet Rebate Program and our Save Water Kits.


Our WaterSense High Efficiency Toilet (HET) Rebate Program can help residents and property owners save water and lower their water bills. Purchase a High Efficiency Toilet (HETs use an average of 1.28 gallons per flush) that’s on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense list to qualify.

Tangle of rags being lifted out of wastewater by a filter at the plant.WE WORK TO PREVENT PROBLEMS

Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) can block wastewater pipes and cause plumbing problems or sewer overflows. The same goes for "flushable" wipes. Blockages can have a serious impact on the environment. The easiest way to help prevent overflows is to keep FOG and wipes out of the system.

Old sink with separate hot and cold water faucets.WE SUPPORT AND PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH

We test for lead in drinking water and announce results in our annual Water Quality Report (pdf). Lead is a common, natural metal that is found throughout the environment; however it rarely occurs naturally in surface water supplies such as lakes and rivers. Lead mainly enters drinking water when older household plumbing corrodes.