What Is Source Water?

Source water is untreated water taken from rivers, lakes or underground aquifers to supply private and public drinking water systems.

There are two types of source water:

Surface water is water that lies on the Earth’s surface, in such forms as lakes, rivers and streams. It is drawn into a drinking water system through an intake pipe. Surface water is easily contaminated by pollution flowing over the land or directly into lakes, rivers and streams. Pollution can also come from the air or from materials at the bottom of a body of water.

Groundwater is the water beneath the Earth’s surface, found in the cracks and spaces between soil, sand and rock particles. It is drawn into a drinking water system through a well. Surface water and groundwater can be interconnected, with pollutants finding their way from one to another. Groundwater can also be contaminated by pollutants that are deposited on the surface soil or underground. Groundwater contamination can be much more difficult than surface water pollution to fix.

Why Protect Source Water?

Source water protection is the most cost-effective and reliable way to safeguard our drinking water.

While the CTC region boasts some of the world’s most advanced water treatment facilities, no treatment procedure is 100% reliable, and not all forms of contamination can be removed. Further, treatment is a costly process.