underground layer of rock, can be shallow or deep, that can hold or transfer water

Aquifer desaturation
over pumping or depletion of a groundwater source

Cistern or rain barrel
Waterproof repository used to collect and store rain water runoff to prevent flooding and water quality issues

Consumer Confidence Report (CCR)
Required, annual drinking water quality report produced and distributed by a community water system to all its customers

Substance that may be found in drinking water which would produce negative health consequences or nuisance-type qualities

Period of excessive dryness long enough to affect agriculture, habitats or people, which often develop slowly over months or years

Water beneath the surface of the ground, consisting largely of surface water that has seeped down. It is the source of water in springs and wells

Groundwater recharge area
Identified land where rainfall is able to seep into the ground and help refill an aquifer

Hydrologic cycle
The continuous movement of water from oceans, lakes, rivers and other water sources to air and land, and then back to these water bodies through rain and snow. It is a cyclical cycle.

Impervious surface
Such as concrete, asphalt and hard roofs that prevent water from seeping into the ground

Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL)
Maximum concentration of a contaminant that may be present in drinking water. Utilities are required to test their drinking water regularly and the concentration of a contaminant must not exceed the applicable MCL

Non-revenue water
Water loss in a drinking water distribution system due to leaking infrastructure, faulty meters or theft. These losses result in lost revenue for a public water system

Potable water
(Or drinking water) that is safe to drink or use for food preparation without risk of health problems

Private well
Allows access to groundwater in underground aquifers on private property

Public water system
Delivers water to the public and charge a fee for this service—these systems can be publicly or privately owned

Increase in the amount of water in a given water source from precipitation, infiltration or human activity

Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)
Enacted by Congress in 1974, which authorizes the establishment of minimum standards for drinking water and requires all owners or operators of public water systems to comply with these standards

Stormwater runoff
rain or snow melt that is not absorbed into the ground, but instead flows over various surfaces, picking up pollutants, before draining into a local surface water source

Surface water
Includes lakes, ponds, rivers and reservoirs

Water conservation
Practices that promote the efficient use of water, such as minimizing losses, reducing wasteful use and protecting availability for future use

Water demand
Amount of water desired for use by a public water system’s customers

The specific land area that drains to a lake, river or stream