Do you know where your tap water comes from?
Most drinking water sources are divided into two basic categories: groundwater aquifers, and surface water sources, including rivers like the Chattahoochee and reservoirs like Lake Lanier and Lake Allatoona. Due to the geology of the state, most of northern Georgia relies on surface water sources, while in southern Georgia aquifers are more productive and groundwater systems are more common. In some parts of the world, desalination is becoming more common as a source of drinking water, however it is still a very small percentage of the potable water produced in the United States.
The type of water source plays a role into the treatment processes and infrastructure required to deliver potable water to the community. Surface water can be pumped directly from a lake or river to a water treatment plant, while groundwater is extracted by wells. Because the aquifer acts as a natural filter, groundwater generally requires less treatment than surface water, which is more vulnerable to nonpoint source pollution from stormwater runoff.
Some water systems are planned around existing, naturally occurring water sources and others use engineered water supply sources called reservoirs, man made lakes created to control the storage and flow of water. Many factors are taken into consideration, including the region’s climate and topography, the size and expected growth of the population depending on the supply, and mitigation of any ecological concerns if there is an alteration of water flows.
Water Professionals ensure the water quantity and quality of our water sources. The planning and management of water supply sources is done by hydrologists, civil engineers, water resource planners, and utility managers. Environmental Specialists and Watershed Inspectors monitor water quality through sampling to ensure our water sources are protected from pollutants.