We all rely on and need water for life, health, work, and play. In urban areas, good water supplies are a generally accepted part of the urban life style. In rural areas, water supplies may be more uncertain, though highly important to the well-being of plants, animals, and humans. Farmers need reliable supplies of good quality water for a number of agricultural uses in addition to the water needed for their households. Unfortunately, many rural residents are located in areas where water availability and/or water quality is such that private water systems do not supply the amounts and quality of water needed for good living conditions. Rural water systems are complex and expens1ve mechanisms intended to provide reliable supplies of good quality water to residents of rural areas. A rural water system usually consists of a water source, pumps, pipelines, elevated or underground storage, and ancillary facilities and equipment. It is intended to deliver good quality water to farms or nonfarm homes or businesses scattered across the countryside. Customers served by a water system have a wide range of water needs. Most need water for domestic and household use. Some may have livestock feeding operations that require large quantities of water for consumption by poultry, cattle, or SW1ne, plus water for cooling, and for the cleaning of equipment, and facilities. Even if they do not have large numbers of livestock, farms may use substantial amounts of water for the application of herbicides and insecticides and the maintenance and cleaning of buildings, machinery and equipment. When rural water systems provide adequate supplies of good quality water to rural residents, both the quality of life and the economic base of the area are improved.


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