Path to Protection: Ten Strategies for Successful Source Water Protection

Report summarizes findings based on experiences of  five pilot projects and proposes ten strategies that will help put more state and local governments on the path to protection. Each strategy includes a case study of a state or local entity that has successfully implemented some or all of the action steps included in that strategy.

“At one time, developed lands were far removed from source areas. Today, these areas overlap. Water suppliers must now work more closely with local land use planners to consider how to protect source water before it reaches the treatment plants. States must support that work with data, incentives for protection, and technical assistance. And clean water advocates must strive to build a more informed constituency to support this work.” (Path to Protection)

The 10 Strategies:

1. Make source water protection a high priority. Articulate the benefits of source water protection, including financial benefits, and demonstrate how successful protection can cap or reduce treatment costs over time.

2. Clearly identify the most critical threats to source water and share that information to involve and motivate a broad constituency.

3. Develop a constituency to champion the cause, and provide resources and technical support to ensure sustainability.

4. Partner with those who have the authority to make change such as elected officials and agricultural and industry representatives.

5. Build on existing issues and programs, integrating source water protection into high-priority initiatives such as stormwater management and land conservation.

6. Create a viable action plan that guides and motivates implementation.

7. Actively promote successful source water protection efforts to build momentum and encourage replication.

8. Create financial and regulatory incentives to build commitment of local stakeholders, especially around multi-jurisdictional or resource-based planning efforts. Support or create public funding programs broad enough to include source water protection, and make funding easy to find with one-stop shopping for water-related funding sources.

9. Add source water protection goals into existing plans and criteria for Clean Water Act and other state programs. Encourage drinking water and clean water program integration and partnering across state programs.

10. Use water quality monitoring and other measures of success to sustain implementation and manage state and local programs.

Download the Path to Protection Guide >> (26 pgs.)

This report, developed by the Trust for Public Land, was written by Caryn Ernst and Kelley Hart, funded by EPA’s Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water.

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