In the US there are approximately 52,000 community water systems providing water to households and businesses. The vast majority of these systems serve fewer than 3,000 connections. Nevertheless, most people are served by large publicly owned systems. Nearly half of the US population receives their water from the 600 largest community systems, each of which serves more than 100,000 people. By contrast, about 90 percent of community water systems serve populations of 10,000 or fewer. Collectively they serve less than 20 percent of the US population.
Ownership of community water systems takes several forms. Some systems are publicly owned, others are privately owned, and still others are public systems managed by private contract. Publicly owned systems encompass municipalities, special districts, regional authorities, and federal or state government systems. Privately owned systems belong to entities that can range from homeowners associations and nonprofit cooperatives to investor-owned water companies.