Idaho Environmental Guide for Local Governments: Water Quality
In Idaho, some 1,960 public drinking water systems (PWS) serve Idaho's population. If a city, district, or other entity owns and operates a public drinking water system, it is responsible for producing safe drinking water, thereby protecting the health of its citizens and fulfilling the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act and other state and federal rules and requirements. Local governments have authority to help protect drinking water beyond requirements of state and federal laws and regulations. Learn more.
Ground water is a key resource supporting many aspects of Idaho's way of life. It replenishes our streams and rivers and provides fresh water for irrigation, industry, and communities. Around nine billion gallons of ground water are withdrawn every day for various uses in the state. The water that flows from the tap likely comes from ground water, as it provides 95% of the state's drinking water. Local governments have authority to implement ordinances that restrict ground water contamination beyond state and federal laws and regulations. Learn more.
Source water is untreated water from streams, rivers, lakes, or aquifers (ground water) that is used to provide public drinking water and to supply private wells used for human consumption. Source water protection is a process that enables communities to protect ground water and surface water supplies that serve as sources for drinking water. Local governments have authority to manage potential sources of source water contamination within their jurisdictions. Learn more.
Surface water is all water that is naturally open to the atmosphere, such as lakes, rivers, streams, and reservoirs. Surface water pollution can result from a number of sources, including dredging, stormwater runoff, and industrial or municipal wastewater discharges. Local governments have authority to implement ordinances that help prevent stormwater pollution beyond federal and state laws and regulations. Learn more.
Wastewater is spent or used water, such as from households and businesses, that contains enough harmful material to damage water quality. Every building with running water generates some sort of wastewater. If a city, district, or other entity owns and operates a wastewater collection or treatment system, it is responsible for protecting the health of its citizens and fulfilling the requirements of state and federal rules and permits for collecting, treating, and disposing of the wastewater. Learn more.