Conditions & Capacity

The United States uses 42 billion gallons of water a day to support daily life from cooking and bathing in homes to use in factories and offices across the country. Around 80% of drinking water in the U.S. comes from surface waters such as rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and oceans, with the remaining 20% from groundwater aquifers. In total, there are approximately 155,000 active public drinking water systems across the country. Most Americans – just under 300 million people – receive their drinking water from one of the nation’s 51,356 community water systems. Of these, just 8,674 systems, or approximately 17%, serve close to 92% of the total population, or approximately 272.6 million people. Small systems that serve the remaining 8% of the population frequently lack both economies of scale and financial, managerial, and technical capacity, which can lead to problems of meeting Safe Drinking Water Act standards.