xe/EPA
      United States
      Environmental Protection
      Agency
SOURCE WATER
PROTECTION
     %%|f;^.;. 	  	
     IN  DUR

     HANDS

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 "All the water that will ever be is right now."
     '    — National Geographic, October 1993
  Source water — the natural origin of the water we
use on a daily basis — is limited to only one  percent
of all the world's water. There is no "new" water.
Whether our source water is a stream, river, lake,
spring or well, we are using the same water the
dinosaurs used millions of years ago.  Nearly 97
percent of the world's water is salty or otherwise -
undrinkable, and the other two percent is locked in ice
caps and glaciers:
   • If five gallons represented all the water in the
     world - 34 tablespoons would represent water
     that was not ocean:
   • Of the 34 tablespoons, 26 tablespoons would
     represent ice caps and glaciers;
   » The remaining 8 tablespoons would represent
     water we can use for agricultural; residential,
     manufacturing, community, and personal needs.
  >  "We forget that the water cycle and the life -:
       '  eycle ape one." ^Jacques cousteau ;
     Water makes up almost too-thirds of the human    ,
  body anct 70 percent of the brain.  The average daily
  requirement for water in the United States is about
  341 billion gallons. We use one percent (3.4 billion
  gallons! in our homes and yards each day. On average,
  each of us uses almost 100 gallops of water a day.

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  including bathing, toiletry, cooking, cleaning, laundry
  and other non-drinking purposes, Americans drink
  more than one billion glasses of tap water per
  day. Protecting our sources of drinking water means
  protecting our health.

      "Understanding the interaction of ground
   water and surface water is essential to water
   managers and water scientists. Management
   of one component of the hydrologic system,
  • sucfi as a stream or an aquifer, commonly is
     only partly effective.,."—uses circular im


   The hydrologic cycle describes the continuous
  movement and exchange of water above, on, and
  below the Earth's surface. Water quality managers
  recognize that surface water and ground water are
  essentially.one resource. Starting with precipitation,
  w£ter usually moves through the subsurface before
  entering stream channels and flowing out of the „
  watershed. The quality and quantity of one affects the
  other. This is problematic in the U.S., where much of
  the ground water contamination is in shallow aquifers
  that are directly connected to surface water.


  What We, as  Individuals Can Do to
  Protect Source Water


 ,   y   "When the weti's dry, we know the  ~
      ' worth of watef."—Benjamin Frankfin,
             PoorRit&ar/d's Alcana?, 1746
  , > ^--   - <•.  -     ^        .  ;„  ^ ,  ,   .
 " - First and foremost, source Water protection is in our
 hands, AH of us. must learn the facts aboutdrmking  l
 water in our communities. Where does it come from?
 How is it delivered to us? How often is it tested? How
 does contaminated-water affect our economy and
, public health? Here are stifne actions we can take;
   * Read our water utility's annual water quality
     report
   • Repair leaking faucets and toilets

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 • Support and volunteer
   for local water
   protection projects
 • Be alert for suspicious
   activities at the
   sources, at the plant,
   in the distribution
   system
  • Look for drainage
   wells and other
    potential sources of contamination in our
    neighborhoods

What Our Water Utilities Can Do

  Water utilities are.gatekeepers of public information
and safety monitoring within oUr communities, and
they offer some of the following expertise:
   •  Treat and distribute drinking water to diminish or
     avoid potential risks
   • Advocate source water protection
   • Provide annual drinking water.quality (consumer
    • confidence) ^reports          .    - •   ' -
   • Create opportunities for public participation, such
     as water board meetings and public forums
   • Notify non-English speaking residents in their
     native language on important information
   • Educate consumers about the risks posed by
     dangerous levels of contaminants in their drinking
     water, such as nitrates and lead
    • Identify potential sources of contamination near
      water intakes   ii-> ,  ^   ,   '   ,
                         i          ,
  What Our Local Governments Can Do

    Local governments are where the action is,
  because most contamination is locaLOne of the most
  important things they can do is to raise public
  awareness and  involve consumers  in promoting and
  practicing safe drinking water habits. They can also:
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           • Work with other communities in the watershed
             to protect and conserve source water
           • Administer land use controls
           • Restrict use and disposal of hazardous chemicals
           • Conduct public information campaigns about
             water contamination
           * Require operating standards for industrial and •
             commercial activities
           * Adopt local wellhead protection plans and
             maximum setback zone ordinances
           * Restrict use of drainage wells
           * Promote and support active public involvement in
             source protection
           * Conduct ground water protection needs
             assessments
           • Identify potential sources of contamination in the
             watershed  ,
        What Our State Governments Can
j       .  State governments carry out environmental
l!    '   protection programs:  "               ^
|         • Assess the vulnerability of water resources for
j           community water-syste'ms   .
i!         • Establish ground and surface water quality
!j           standards and minimum setback zones for public
\l           and private water supply wells
>["        • Provide technical and financial assistance to
,!'           communities and utilities

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  '  Conduct research
  >  Promote education about water standards and
    pollution -                  -
  •  Compile and maintain public records of environ-
    mental releases
  •  Identify and protect state ground water reserves
    as a natural and public resource
  •  Work with other states on cross^urisdictional
    water issues
  *  Promote and^support active public involvement in
  , source protection
  •  Compile and make information readily available
    about the current level of susceptibility of
   - source waters and the potential sources of  '
    contamination-.
What the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) Can Do

  EPA carries out the Congressional mandate to
protect drinking water JThe Safe Drinking Water Act)
in a number of ways: -
  *  Develops national standards for drinking water
     quality
  •  Establishes a regulatory program to protect
     underground sources' of drinking water
  •  Produces information on contaminants that can
     adversely affect human health and that may

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     occur in drinking water, but which EPA does not
     currently regulate in drinking water
   • Partners with other federal agencies, like the
     USDA,  USGS, and DOD to ensure that environ-
  .   mental  quality issues are addressed in all
     programs within our federal government
   * Distributes financial assistance sources (grants,
     loans, cost-sharing) available to fund a variety of
     watershed protection projects
   • Compiles and maintains a public record that
     tracks the progress of our environmental
     protection efforts   '
   * Monitors and rewards industries that make
     efforts to improve our environment through
, '   conservation and best management practices

       "An  ounce of'prevention is worth a
         pound Of Cure" — Benjamin Franklin
   Finally, many of our communities have found out
that contamination and loss pf water resources can
cost millions of dollars:  ,
   • Long-term treatment and clearj-up
  • • Emergency replacement water (with bottled
     water as an alternative source)
 „ * Abandoning a contaminated drinking water
     source
   * Finding  and developing new supplies
   • Engineering and consulting fees
   • Litigation against utilities, local and state
     government,  corporations ,
   • Loss of property value or tax revenue
   • Loss of revenue from boating and fishing
   * Public health monitoring related costs from
     exposure to contaminated water
   • Loss^of production time for individuals and
     businesses-
   * Interruption of fire and other insurance protection
   • Loss of  economic development opportunities

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"The way we live now will affect the state of
the world in the future. The world I envision
for you and your children is one where... all
 people have... clean, safe drinking water."
— Rosa Parks with Gregory J. Reed, Dear Mrs. Parks, 1996
          For More Information

   Contact: EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline at
   1-800-426-4791 Visit www.epa.gov/safewater
    Find the Catalog of Federal Funding Sources
           for Watershed Protection at
         www. epa.gov/watershedfunding
             You may also contact:
       U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
     Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water
     1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (4606-M)
             Washington, D.C. 20460
                    £*,
              Printed on recycled paper


    United States Environmental Protection Agency
                 Office of Water
          EPA 816-F-03-008 • June 2003

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