Forests, Water and People
This analysis uses maps to highlight the connection between forests and the protection of surface drinking water quality. Forests are the crucial first barrier to protection of drinking water, and managing forests for source water protection is becoming more important as the population and water demand increase.
Approximately 50 to 75 percent of the region’s population relies on surface water as their municipal drinking water source – more than 52 million people receive clean drinking water from nearly 1,600 community water systems. These water supplies are protected largely by private forest lands. This analysis identifies these water supplies and the forests that protect them.