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​Clean tap water is central to our lives. It provides safe drinking water and public health protection, fire protection, economic development and quality of life. The average North American residential consumer spends less than $1 per day on this vital service.

What you're getting for your dollar

Public health protection

  • Safe drinking water is the first obligation of all water suppliers. Without our modern water systems, diseases like cholera and dysentery would be common.
  • Drinking water quality is stringently controlled through federal guidelines, regulations and individual utility performance standards.

Fire protection

  • Fire hydrants are fed by the same water system as your home.
  • Reliably high pressure and volume are the most important factors in saving a building from fire.
  • Firefighters are the primary operators of fire hydrants, but the water utility is responsible for maintaining the hydrants. That maintenance is supported through your water bills.
  • Learn more about fire hydrant flushing and maintenance.

Support for the economy

  • Safe tap water is a critical factor in both the operations of existing businesses and the development of new commercial enterprises.
  • Water is the primary ingredient in thousands of daily products, from toothpaste to perfume.
  • Businesses must take into consideration the availability and quality of water when determining where to locate their offices or manufacturing facilities. The availability of water resources and service therefore has a profound effect on job creation.

Quality of life

  • Any measure of a successful society — good health, public safety, economic diversity — is in some way related to access to safe water.
  • Tap water is so intricately part of our lives that we can hardly imagine a day without it. We use water to quench or thirst, clean ourselves, grow things, maintain public services, and supply industries.
  • Learn what impacts water quality and why.

See Water Efficiency for more information on how to use this precious resource wisely.

Presented in cooperation with the American Water Works Association.