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Celebrating 40 years of clean water progress in Wisconsin

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Drinking water 101

Learn more about the water you drink -- everything from the molecules that form this amazing liquid, to the many different ways it powers our economy and businesses, to how much water it takes to make a hamburger, fries and a soda.

Drinking water fast facts

  • Wisconsin has more public water systems than any other state in the nation. Public water systems serve at least 25 people at least 60 days of the year.
  • Wisconsin communities, businesses, farms, utilities and other users withdrew about 2.2 trillion gallons of water in 2012, roughly enough water to fill Lambeau Field about 4,700 times.
  • Wisconsin residential customers on average used 55,100 gallons per year. Average usage has declined 6 percent since 2007.
  • Wisconsin residents pay on average $4 for 1,000 gallons of tap water—mere fractions of a penny per gallon.
  • Wisconsin's community water systems and not-for-profit non-community water systems will need to invest an estimated $6.2 billion between 2007 and 2027 to continue to provide safe and adequate supplies of drinking water.

Sources: Wisconsin Public Service Commission, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Think before you drink

Every day millions of Wisconsinites experience something amazing -- and likely never think twice about it. They turn on their faucets, drink from a water fountain, bake bread or brew beer and seemingly without effort, are provided with safe drinking water.

That's amazing in a world where 1 billion people still must walk on average 3.5 miles to get water - and can't be assured it's safe to drink.

That's why we celebrate National Drinking Water Week every year and this year, honor as well the 40th anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act [exit DNR]. That landmark law is the primary federal law safeguarding the water we drink and use every day in our homes and our businesses.

Raise your glass

We owe our safe drinking water to the men and women who work behind the scenes to deliver safe water -- local operators, public utilities, county health officials, state drinking and groundwater staff, association staff, testing laboratories and consultants, to name a few.

Let's raise a glass in recognition of their efforts and appreciation for the time savings and confidence means to our daily lives and to the success of your business.

Drink locally, act locally

As much progress as has been made under the Safe Drinking Water Act, protecting sources of drinking water is key for the future, says Jill Jonas, who leads DNR's drinking and groundwater programs. "Protecting sources of drinking water is the key for the future. There are tens of thousands of potential contaminates and we're never going to be able to use the approach we're using now. There is no way to keep up."

How you can help protect sources of drinking water

What's in my water?

Wisconsin is viewed as a national model for the amount and accessibility of drinking water information provided to water consumers. Check out these resources for the statewide picture - or to zero in on your own water supply.

Where does my water come from?

Two-thirds of Wisconsin residents get their drinking water from groundwater. One-third of Wisconsin residents get their drinking water from surface water supplies such as Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and Lake Winnebago.

How do we use water?

Operations that withdraw more than 100,000 gallons of water a day are required to report their usage and are starting to give Wisconsin important information on how much water we collectively use. See the breakdowns by major uses.

Resources for youth leaders & educators



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