Straight from the Water Source: Did you know these fun facts about the Ohio River?

Straight from the Water Source: Did you know these fun facts about the Ohio River?
September 26, 2022

Source Water Protection Week is recognized from September 25 through October 1. Our area is lucky to have an abundant supply of drinking water from the Ohio River. This week is a great opportunity to soak up some fun facts that you may or may not know about our water source.


The Ohio River is the source of drinking water for more than five million people.

  • 75 billion gallons of water from the Ohio flows by our city every day! Louisville Water pumps on average 120 million gallons of water daily to deliver to our customers. That’s less than 1% of the vast supply provided by the Ohio River.
  • The name Ohio stems from the Iroquois word in the Seneca language: Oyo which translates to “great river.” For thousands of years, Native Americans used the Ohio River as a major transportation and trading route.
  • The Ohio River spans 981 miles, travelling through/along six states: Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. It begins in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and ends in Cairo, Illinois where it meets the Mississippi River.
  • It is the 6th oldest river in North America, but geologically, it’s considered to be fairly young. The Ohio River began to form around 2.5-3 million years ago.
  • The Ohio River is naturally shallow, but a series of dams artificially increased the depth. The average depth is approximately 24 feet.
  • During the 1937 flood, Louisville Water’s pumping stations were flooded. The Ohio River crested at an incredible 57.1 feet.
  • There have been court battles over who owns the Ohio River. In 1792, the Supreme Court ruled Kentucky owned the river, but since then, court rulings in various states have overturned that decision.

Taking care of the Ohio River is very important, not only to keep our city looking beautiful, but because we depend on the river so we can keep delivering high quality Louisville Pure Tap®!