You are here: Home / Research Topics / Research Highlights / Individual Highlight

Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Forests to Faucets: Visualizing Forests’ Role in Supplying Drinking Water Across the U.S.

Photo of The Forest to Faucets program estimates importance of watersheds for surface drinking water across more than 83,000 U.S. watersheds. Those shown in darker blue have higher yield and are serving more people on public water systems drawn from surface water.

The Forest to Faucets program estimates importance of watersheds for surface drinking water across more than 83,000 U.S. watersheds. Those shown in darker blue have higher yield and are serving more people on public water systems drawn from surface water. Snapshot : Forests provide drinking water and protect drinking water supplies. The USDA Forest Service's 'Forest to Faucets' program is a unique tool for understanding and visualizing this ecosystem service, as well as the stressors that threaten it. This new, user-friendly tool integrates maps, hydrologic models, and databases of surface drinking water supply across the country.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Sun, Ge 
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2020
Highlight ID : 1743

Summary

Forests provide numerous ecosystem services that support the U.S. economy and public wellbeing. In particular, forests provide more clean and stable water than any other land use. To better understand this ecosystem service, USDA Forest Service scientists and partners in State and Private Forestry and the National Forest System have updated the Forests to Faucets mapping and analysis tool, 'Forests to Faucets Version 2 (F2F2)'. The study integrated online maps, watershed models, historic and future projections of climate and land use change, and surface drinking water withdrawal data. The result is a user-friendly technology transfer tool that lets forest managers identify important watersheds for drinking water supply based on the population served, forest cover, riparian condition, and hydrology. The tool can also assess threats to water supply under current and future climate and land uses conditions, offering information for protecting or restoring forests that are important for drinking water. The F2F2 maps can be incorporated into broad-scale planning, such as State Forest Action Plans, and can help identify vulnerable watersheds for further local analysis. In addition, information generated from F2F2 can be used in other decision support tools to provide spatial information about surface drinking water management. Ultimately, sound management of forests for clean drinking water supply benefits the American public as a whole.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • State and Private Forestry, Eastern Region
  • Southern Group of State Foresters