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Water Resources

Water is essential for life and plays a vital role in the proper functioning of the Earth's ecosystems. Water pollution has a serious impact on all living creatures, and can negatively affect the use of water for drinking, household needs, recreation, fishing, transportation and commerce.

Back to Learn About Water page.

On this page:

Drinking Water

Learn about your drinking water supply, how to monitor its quality and how to help keep it clean.

  • Consumer Confidence Reports - Annual water quality reports from community water systems.
  • Home Water Testing - This pamphlet can help you decide whether your water needs to be professionally tested.
  • Learn About Drinking Water - The sources of our drinking water are constantly under siege from naturally occurring events and human activities. 
  • Private Drinking Water Wells - If your family gets drinking water from a private well, do you know if your water is safe to drink? What health risks could you and your family face? Where can you go for help or advice?
  • Protect the Source of Your Drinking Water - Communities can take an active role in protecting source water from contamination.
  • Lead in Drinking Water - Basic information about how lead gets into drinking water, health effects, what you can do, and how we require states and utilities to protect drinking water
  • Community-Based Water Resilience - Learn how your community can partner with water utilities to prepare for, and recover from, water service interruptions.

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Learn how pollutants can get into the water supply, and actions or treatment to remove them.

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Water Bodies

Learn about EPA's work to protect and manage water resources and what you can do to help.

  • Ground Water
  • Lakes
  • Oceans and Coasts
  • National Estuaries Program
  • Nutrient Pollution - Nutrient pollution, one of America's most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems, is caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorus in the air and water.
  • Rivers and Streams
  • Watersheds - The area that drains to a common waterway, such as a stream, lake, estuary, wetland, aquifer, or even the ocean.
  • Wetlands - Areas where water covers the soil, or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of time during the year, including during the growing season.

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Water Quality

Find out whether waters near you are clean and safe for activities such as swimming and fishing.

  • Beach Closures - Shows beach monitoring and notification data reported by states, territories, and tribes. 
  • Fish Advisories - A compendium of information on locally issued fish advisories and safe eating guidelines.
  • National Aquatic Resource Surveys (NARS) - A collaborative programs between EPA, states, and tribes designed to assess the quality of the nation's coastal waters, lakes and reservoirs, rivers and streams, and wetlands using a statistical survey design. 
  • How's My Waterway?See if your local waterway was checked for pollution, what was found, and what is being done.

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What You Can Do

Read about actions you can take to protect water at home and in your community.

  • Find Healthy Watersheds Projects in Your Area - Learn about opportunities to get involved in activities such as volunteer water monitoring, stream cleanups, and storm drain marking. 
  • Disaster Preparedness - Natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods can disrupt your drinking water supply and your wastewater disposal systems. Learn some of the issues you may face preparing for, during and after an event that directly threatens your health and the health of your family.
  • Protect Source Water - Get involved in keeping pollutants out of the drinking water in your community.
  • Maintain Your Septic System - If you’re not properly maintaining your septic system, you’re not only hurting the environment, you’re putting your family’s health at risk—and may be flushing thousands of dollars down the drain.
  • Prevent Polluted Runoff - What you can do to prevent pollution caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground.
  • Volunteer Monitoring - Across the country, trained volunteers are monitoring the condition of their local streams, lakes, estuaries and wetlands.
  • WaterSense - Save water and protect the environment by choosing WaterSense labeled products in your home, yard, and business and taking simple steps to save water each day.

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