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Open-File Report 2010–1226

Prepared in Cooperation with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Division of Water Supply

Public Water-Supply Systems and Associated Water Use in Tennessee, 2005

By John A. Robinson and Jaala M. Brooks

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Public water-supply systems in Tennessee provide water to for domestic, industrial, and commercial uses, and municipal services. In 2005, more than 569 public water-supply systems distributed about 920 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) of non-purchased surface water and groundwater to a population of nearly 6 million in Tennessee. Surface-water sources provided 64 percent (about 591 Mgal/d) of the State's water supplies. Groundwater produced from wells and springs in Middle and East Tennessee and from wells in West Tennessee provided 36 percent (about 329 Mgal/d) of the public water supplies. Gross per capita water use for Tennessee in 2005 was about 171 gallons per day.

Water withdrawals by public water-supply systems in Tennessee have increased from 250 Mgal/d in 1955 to 920 Mgal/d in 2005. Tennessee public water-supply systems withdraw less groundwater than surface water, and surface-water use has increased at a faster rate than groundwater use. However, 34 systems reported increased groundwater withdrawals during 2000–2005, and 15 of these 34 systems reported increases of 1 Mgal/d or more. The county with the largest surface-water withdrawal rate (130 Mgal/d) was Davidson County.

Each of Tennessee's 95 counties was served by at least one public water-supply system in 2005. The largest groundwater withdrawal rate (about 167 Mgal/d) by a single public water-supply system was reported by Memphis Light, Gas and Water, which served 654,267 people in Shelby County in 2005.

First posted October 22, 2010

For additional information contact:
Director, Tennessee Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
640 Grassmere Park, Suite 100
Nashville, TN 37211
(615) 837-4700

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Robinson, J.A., and Brooks, J.M., 2010, Public water-supply systems and associated water use in Tennessee, 2005: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010–1226, 100 p.




Purpose and Scope

Description of the Study Area



Previous Investigations

Approach and Methods

Public Water-Supply Systems

Public Water Supplies And Water Use During 2005

Surface Water




Supplement A—Public water-supply systems and associated water use in the Tennessee hydrologic region

Supplement B—Public water-supply systems and associated water use in the Ohio hydrologic region

Supplement C—Public water-supply systems and associated water use in the Lower Mississppi hydrologic region


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