Local Source Water Protection Planning

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Protection planning basics

Communities can adopt management strategies to protect drinking water sources. This involves:

  1. Assessing the contaminant threats in the protection area
  2. Identifying and prioritizing management measures for the threats
  3. 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:

Use the source water assessment for protection

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.

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Getting local involvement in source water protection

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.

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Funding source water protection

Funding for source water protection provides information on a variety of financial assistance tools that can be used to fund source water protection.