All of us depend upon water every day. Our farms need water for crops and animals; our homes for drinking, washing, and cooking; towns and cities for firefighting, sanitation, and recreation. Industries must have water to generate power and light, to use as a solvent, a cooling agent, in waste disposal, and as part of a finished product.
A modern civilization makes heavy demands on our water supply. Ours consumes the equivalent of more than 150 gallons per day for each member of our population. For most of us, obtaining water is simple. A twist of the faucet—and instant water. But the faucet must be fed—by pipe or conduit—from a lake, reservoir, well, or stream within a watershed. Except for minor amounts of water reclaimed from the seas by desalting, watersheds are the source of all the water we use.
This pamphlet discusses water and watersheds: how watersheds work, some benefits we get from them, what we must guard against, and what we can do to insure safe and dependable water supplies.