A non-profit organization, set up in the late 1950s by Fairfax County, Virginia to consolidate water service across the county. At the time, municipal tap water service was spotty, quality was low, and most of the county was still using public wells. The Authority got its start by acquiring the old Annandale Water Company and a few other local utilities. They also eventually acquired the treatment plant at Lorton, VA from the Alexandria Water Company. Also, a new raw water system was built at Occoquan, VA. The facilities there were nearly destroyed in 1972, when Hurricane Agnes flooded the area.

Today, the Authority supplies water to almost all of Fairfax County, except for the far southwestern portion (which is still on private wells), and certain parts inside the Beltway (which get their water from the Washington Aqueduct by way of Falls Church, VA). The Town of Vienna runs its own water system, drawing from wells, the Aqueduct, and the Authority. FCWA also sells water wholesale to Prince William County, VA (where it supplements both the Manassas North/Yorkshire and eastern PWC systems), and to Virginia American Water Company (Alexandria Water's successor), who resells it in Alexandria and in Dale City, VA). FCWA also supplies emergency cutovers to Falls Church and to Fairfx, VA.

The Authority opened their first all-new plant in 1982; located in Herndon, VA, it pulls raw water from the Potomac River. Also, the Lorton and Occoquan facilities (which are very old and do not meet current standards for haloacetic acids) are being replaced with the help of Prince William County. The Griffith Water Treatment Plant is located on the old Lorton Reformatory complex, and is scheduled to go on-line in 2003.

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