I’m Drinking My River?

drinking from a faucet | WI Dept of Natural Resources

Woman drinking from a faucet | WI Dept of Natural Resources

Where does my drinking water come from? For many, the answer is the kitchen faucet. But our water does not just magically appear from the tap — it is a long process, and rivers play an important role.

65% of Our Drinking Water Comes From Rivers and Streams

If you live in Seattle, your water comes from the Cedar and Tolt rivers, where surrounding forests help protect water quality. If you live in New York, your water comes from the Delaware River basin. The 3.2 million residents of Minnesota’s Twin Cities get their water from the Mississippi River. Most of metro Atlanta’s 4.1 million residents get their water from the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers.

Once a community system pulls water from a river (and in some cases a well), the water is treated to federal and state required purity levels before being pumped and piped to our houses as clean drinking water.

According to the American Water Works Association, the best way to learn about your drinking water is to contact your local utility. They can tell you about the source of the water, and how it is treated.

You can also use this interactive map from the EPA to find out about the source of your water, and read EPA’s Water on Tap [PDF] to learn about drinking water safety and more.

While our tap water is generally safe to drink, threats to rivers and drinking water are increasing. We shouldn’t take clean water for granted. American Rivers is working on the national, state, and local levels to ensure we have healthy rivers and clean water for generations to come.

What Can You Do Now?