Water diverted from streams and pumped from wells constitutes the main source of water for the 78 municipios of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. A better understanding of water-use patterns is needed, particularly regarding the amount of water used, where and how this water is used and disposed, and how human activities affect water resources. Agricultural practices, indoor and outdoor household uses, industrial uses, and commercial and mining withdrawals affect reservoirs, streams, and aquifers. Accurate and accessible water information for Puerto Rico is critical to ensure that water managers have the ability to protect and conserve this essential natural resource.
From 2000 to 2010, the population of Puerto Rico decreased 2.6 percent, from 3.8 to 3.7 million residents (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011), and this decrease in population reduced the demand for freshwater. Factors that contributed to a reduction in domestic per capita water use in Puerto Rico include water-rate cost increases, the implementation of low-flow fixture, and domestic conservation programs. Almost 99 percent of the residents in Puerto Rico were served by public-supply water systems in 2010. Public-supply water is provided by the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) and by non-PRASA systems. Non-PRASA systems include community-operated water systems (water systems that serve rural or suburban housing areas).