By far the largest source of drinking water for Missourians is surface water from the Missouri River. The abundant supply of water in the Missouri River and its closeness to the state's major population centers is what makes the use of this river as a drinking water source so popular. Groundwater is the next most used source of drinking water. Some groundwater systems have the best of both worlds and use alluvial wells in valleys of the Missouri and Mississippi river system. More than half the state's population gets their drinking water from the Missouri River or its alluvial wells. The importance of this resource cannot be overstated.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources works to make sure Missourians receive quality drinking water that meets or exceeds state and federal Safe Drinking Water Act standards. To do this, the department sets limits and monitors for contaminants; issues permits for new and existing public water systems; issues permits to well drillers; certifies drinking water treatment and distribution operators; supports and promotes water system security; provides support for improving technical, managerial and financial capacity and provides funding opportunities for water system improvements.