Water diverted from streams and pumped from wells constitutes the main sources of water for the 78 municipios of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. A better understanding is needed about water-use patterns, particularly about the amount of water used, where and how this water is used and disposed, and how human activities impact water resources. Irrigation practices, indoor and outdoor household uses, industrial uses, and commercial and mining withdrawals affect reservoirs, streams, and aquifers. Accurate and accessible water information for Puerto Rico is critical to ensure that water managers have the ability to protect and conserve this natural resource.
The population of Puerto Rico increased 15 percent, from 3.4 million in 1985 to 3.9 million people 2005 and resulted in an increased demand for freshwater, mostly for the public-supply water use category. Almost 99 percent of the residents in Puerto Rico were served by public-supply water systems in 2005. One of the major challenges that water managers confront is the need to provide sufficient freshwater availability in the densely populated areas. Public-supply water is provided by the Puerto Rico Aqueducts and Sewers Authority (PRASA) and by non-PRASA systems. Non-PRASA systems refer to community-operated water systems (water systems that serve a rural or suburban housing area).