Safe drinking-water supplies are critical to maintaining and preserving public health. Although the Nation's drinking water is generally safe, natural and introduced contaminants in water supplies throughout the country have adversely affected human health. This new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) initiative will provide information on the vulnerability of water supplies to be used by water-supply and regulatory agencies who must balance water-supply protection with the wise use of public funds. Using the results of the initiative, they will be better able to focus on the supplies most at risk and the variability of contaminants of most concern, and so address the mandates of the Safe Drinking Water Act. With its store of geologic, hydrologic, and land use and land cover data and its network of information in every State, the USGS can help to identify potential sources of contamination, delineate source areas, determine the vulnerability of waters to potential contamination, and evaluate strategies being used to protect source waters in light of the scientific information available. Many recent and ongoing studies by the USGS concern drinking-water issues. This fact sheet highlights four particular studies begun under the Drinking Water Initiative.