Water quality is commonly defined by its physical, chemical, biological and aesthetic characteristics. A healthy environment is one in which the water quality supports a rich and varied community of organisms and protects public health. Water quality in a body of water influences the way in which communities use the water for activities, such as:
- Supplying drinking water.
- Irrigating crops and watering stock.
- Industrial processes.
- Navigation and shipping.
- Production of edible fish, shellfish and crustaceans.
- Protection of aquatic ecosystems.
- Wildlife habitats.
- Scientific study and education.
The Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (OGWDW), together with states, tribes, and its many partners, protects public health by ensuring safe drinking water and protecting ground water. OGWDW, along with EPA’s ten regional drinking water programs, oversees implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which is the national law safeguarding tap water in America.
Go to Local Drinking Water Information for more information on your local drinking water system.