Planning for Local Source Water Protection
Communities can adopt management strategies to protect drinking water sources. This involves:
- Assessing the contaminant threats in the protection area
- Identifying and prioritizing management measures for the threats
- Implementing the management measures
Implementing a drinking water protection strategy can be a simple or complex process depending on the site. For instance, communities that rely on surface water sources for drinking water where much of the watershed is outside of their jurisdiction may face additional challenges.
Additional resources can be found below:
The first two steps in protecting source water are to:
- Identify the areas that most need protection
- Determine the potential sources of contamination in those areas
State assessment programs have completed this work for almost every public water system. Information summarizing the results and the availability of the assessment report is provided to consumers every year in a Consumer Confidence Report (also referred to as drinking water quality report).
Communities can use the state's assessment or expand it into a more detailed local assessment. They can use information gathered through the assessment process to create source water protection programs.
- Learn more about source water assessments
- Learn how to update and enhance your local source water protection assessments
- Source water stewardship - a guide to protecting and restoring your drinking water - This handbook describes the process for understanding an assessment, reaching out to others who are or could be involved in protecting and restoring drinking water quality, and designing an action plan for drinking water protection and restoration.
Source water protection planning usually involves a team of interested stakeholders. Many programs and organizations have some responsibility for water quality and land use planning at the local level. These stakeholders include:
- A town's conservation commission
- A local county extension agent to a state agency
- Nonprofit organizations
- Federal agencies
Ideally, a team will have at least one member who represents the public water system. Getting local citizens involved in source water protection efforts heightens a sense of ownership in protecting the resource. Groups of citizens such as retired volunteers, may be interested.
Some programs and organizations work specifically with small communities and water systems.
Funding for source water protection provides information on a variety of financial assistance tools that can be used to fund source water protection.