Public water-supply systems in Tennessee provide water to meet customer needs for domestic, industrial, and commercial users and municipal services. In 2000, more than 500 public water-supply systems distributed about 890 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) of surface water and ground water to a population of about 5 million in Tennessee. Surface-water sources provided 64 percent (about 569 Mgal/d) of the State?s water supplies, primarily in Middle and East Tennessee. Ground water produced from wells and springs in Middle and East Tennessee and from wells in West Tennessee provided 36 percent (about 321 Mgal/d) of the public water supplies. Springs in Middle and East Tennessee provided about 14 percent (about 42 Mgal/d) of ground-water supplies used in the State. Per capita water use for Tennessee in 2000 was about 136 gallons per day. An additional 146 public water-supply systems provided approximately 84 Mgal/d of water supplies that were purchased from other water systems.
Water withdrawals by public water-supply systems in Tennessee have increased by over 250 percent; from 250 Mgal/d in 1955 to 890 Mgal/d in 2000. Although Tennessee public water-supply systems withdraw less ground water than surface water, ground-water withdrawal rates reported by these systems continue to increase. In addition, the number of public water-supply systems reporting ground-water withdrawals of 1 Mgal/d or more in West Tennessee is increasing.