Indicator Report - Drinking Water: Public Water Use
Why Is This Important?People drink and use water every day. The majority of Americans are provided with high quality drinking water. About 90% of people in the United States (262 million in 2006) get their water from a community water system versus a smaller water supply, such as a household well. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets regulations for treating and monitoring drinking water delivered by community water systems. There are water quality standards and monitoring requirements for over 90 contaminants. Drinking water protection programs play a critical role in ensuring high quality drinking water and in protecting the public's health.
Because people drink and use water every day, contaminants in drinking water have the potential to affect many people. The number of people served by a community water system varies from 25 to hundreds of thousands. Community water systems in the U.S. provide among the highest quality drinking water in the world. However, some contaminants are present at low levels, and it is still possible that drinking water can become contaminated at higher levels. If a person is exposed to a high enough level of a contaminant, they may become ill. Effects can be short-term or long-term and depend on the specific contaminant, the level of contaminant in the water, and the person's individual susceptibility. As additional information is obtained about how specific contaminants affect public health, standards may change in order to better protect public health.
The purpose of this indicator is to show how many people drink water that has regulations on contaminant levels to reduce health-risks. The proportion of the population served by regulated community water supplies provides a measure of the estimated proportion of people in the state that are served by water that is being monitored for public health protection.
Data NotesThis map was made using an interval break method called "natural breaks" where classes are based on natural groupings inherent in the data.
Data SourcesUtah Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Drinking Water, Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS). Population Estimates: Utah Governor's Office of Planning and Budget.
DefinitionA community water system (CWS) is a public water system which serves at least 15 service connections used by year-round residents or regularly serves at least 25 year-round residents.
The public water use index provides some data to explore the relative importance of community water supplies as sources of drinking water and to provide context for subsequent community drinking water system (CWS) indicators/contaminants. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requires data to be collected by the Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS) for a number of different types of public water systems of which CWS are a subset. The CWS represent non-transient public water systems that serve year round community residents. The range of state populations served by CWS as their primary residential drinking water source varies from 95% to as low as 40% within the United States. (Modified from the National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (NEPHTN) Nationally Consistent Data and Measures (NCDM) public water use document, version 3)
How We Calculated the Rates
Page Content Updated On 06/11/2014, Published on 06/16/2014