Source water is untreated water from streams, rivers, lakes or aquifers that is used to provide drinking water for human consumption.
Source water protection is any activity that protects these waters from contamination. Although some water treatment is necessary before it enters our homes the cost of treatment and the risks to public health can be reduced by protecting our source waters from contamination.
While it is possible to remove many contaminants using modern water treatment technology, it is much cheaper and effective to prevent water contamination at the source. Water is the “universal solvent” and can pick up contaminants in every part of the water cycle, as vapor, as ground water, or on the surface. Even a small amount of pollution can contaminate water, making it unsafe for humans, plants and animals.
We all need water to survive, so by taking steps to protect source water, we not only help ourselves, but also our neighbours, including all of the plant and animal species that share our watersheds. A high-quality, dependable supply of water is one of the most valuable resources we have, for our economy and our way of life.
Protecting our source water is a responsibility we all share.