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SimCity Strategy Guides



This row of water pumps cleans the dirty ground water that is replenished by the row of sewage processing across the road

In SimCity water is NOT an infinite resource, but your Sims and all your city buildings require it! Setting up your water system well (pun intended) can help avoid a major drought.

The following sections can be found in this article:

  • Water Sources
  • Creating an infinite water supply
  • Preventing a Water Problem
  • Water Sources

    Water in SimCity comes from a number of sources.

    Just like in real life, rain falling from the sky will replenish ground water supplies, as will bodies of water, lakes and rivers, adjacent to your city land. Most industry and buildings that use water will leak some of what they use back into the ground, although it is often in a highly polluted state.

    What you usually end up with, is a lot of dry land or bodies of polluted ground water which is no good to any Sim!

    Creating an infinite water supply

    The good news is it is possible to recycle water in SimCity. To do this you need to put your water pumping station next to a sewage treatment plant.

    The best way to do this is to plan in advance where you want to set up your water recycling system by looking for an existing large area of ground water. The reason for this is that although a sewage treatment plant does leak water into the ground over time, it does take rather a long time for it to build up a sufficient volume of water for pumping if the ground is dry. If there's no water present already then there will be little water to pump, making your water production inefficient and prone to drying up quickly.

    It is also important to allow plenty of space to grow both the sewage treatment and the water pumping over time so you can expand the system as your city's needs grow. A busy city, especially one which has specialization industries and perhaps a nuclear power plant, can suck up vast quantites of water, anything approaching the 500k/gal per hour mark will require multiple pumping stations supported by multiple sewage treatment plants (you are likely to find that water demand will probably outstrip sewage treatment needs, but it's best to grow them both at a similar rate to ensure a steady supply of ground water).

    "Simcity 5 How to get Unlimited Water in you city forever!" by xbox360360oliver: a short demonstration of how to create an infinite water supply

    I have found that arranging the sewage and water processing either side of a single road works most effeciently, it is worth keeping in mind that the center of the 'leak' from the sewage plant is based on the location of the building, rather than the tanks, so the water it contributes will only extend so far out away from the building.

    For more information:

  • Sewage
  • What if all the water has run out?

    Running out of water is something I would class as an actual disaster which is why it is covered in the disasters article - even though it's not strictly a disaster in the strictest sense of in-game disasters. Oh you know exactly what I mean!

    For more information:

  • Surviving Disasters
  • Preventing a Water Problem

    Water pollution is a huge problem for a city. It causes widespread germs and sickness which in turn leads to a lot of unhappiness and economic problems.

    Step one is to always use the advanced filtration pump. If your water pumping station is in an area which is already affected by ground pollution then turn off the basic pump immediately, or better yet delete it, and put advanced filtration pumps in instead. If your city is strapped for cash and you need to rely on the basic pumps then here are a few general tips for keeping the water clean.

    1. Locate water pumping away from industrial zones and mining to reduce the input of ground pollution before you have the chance to upgrade your water pumps
    2. If a nuclear power plant goes critical it will make nearby water radioactive. Put the power station and water pumping on opposite sides of town. If you do have a meltdown, at least there will be clean water!
    3. Invest in education - it will reduce the quantity of heavy polluting industries, because all types of pollution, including air does eventually find its way into the ground water
    4. Investment in healthcare - being able to treat sick Sims in large enough numbers may stop full scale degradation of your city if the water does become unsafe, before zone abandonment and economic failure follows
    5. Invest in green energy and encourage your region neighbors to do the same - you might have a solar powered city, but your water can become unsafe if it absorbs smog from your neighbor's coal stations

    For more information:

  • Zoning: Industrial
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