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Source Water Collaborative Meeting Celebrates Partnerships

On Earth Day, April 22nd, the Source Water Collaborative (SWC) held a celebration and signing ceremony in conjunction with its meeting in Washington, DC.  Participants included representatives from almost all of the SWC’s member organizations (including ASDWA), EPA staff, Jay Frick and Amy Axon of the North Carolina Drinking Water Program, plus a number of phone participants from EPA Regions, states, and local communities (that were selected for the new pilots, mentioned below).  The objectives of the meeting were as follows:

  • Celebrate the SWC’s accomplishments since 2006 and highlight opportunities for 2013 and beyond.
  • Welcome the two new members of the SWC (NACD and SGA) — represented by John Larson, Chief Executive Officer of National Association of Conservation Districts and Geoff Anderson, President of Smart Growth America.
    • Identify and align SWC member support for the 2013 SWC Pilots in Sheridan (WY), Lancaster County (PA), and the State of Wisconsin.
    • Identify opportunities to promote Regional and State SWCs.  (Next steps are to develop a draft action plan that potentially includes ASDWA holding a webinar with states; the Trust for Public Land creating a case study on useful fiscal structures that collaboratives can use; and compiling resources on the SWC website under a new Collaboration How-To-Tab).
    • Identify contributions that SWC members can make to CWA/SDWA collaboration.   (Next steps include generating a survey for SWC organizations to share with their members to identify successes and challenges of using CWA tools and assess information about data availability and data needs.)

EPA leaders and SWC Co-Chairs made remarks during the celebration ceremony in support of the SWC and its accomplishments.  They included:  Ellen Gilinsky (Senior Policy Advisor for EPA’s Office of Water); Peter Grevatt (Director of EPA’s Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water); Denise Keehner (Director of EPA’s Office of Wetlands Oceans and Watersheds); and SWC Steering Committee Co-Chairs Jim Taft of ASDWA, and Dan Yates of the Ground Water Protection Council.  A few of the key presenters and topics during the afternoon meeting were as follows:

  • Ben Grumbles, President of the U.S. Water Alliance (who was an original signer of the Collaborative vision statement in his role as EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water at the time) spoke about the value of the collaborative approach for source water protection and “one water” management at the state and local levels.
  • Tracy Mehan, Principal of the Cadmus Group and former EPA Assistant Administrator for Water, spoke about his project with the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities and the American Water Works Association to advance source water protection opportunities by working with water utility managers and local communities to protect both forests and drinking water.
  • Jay Frick of North Carolina’s Public Water Supply Section shared information about his successful work in developing the NC State Collaborative and provided insights to help SWC members provide targeted support for the 2013 SWC Pilots.
  • Representatives from Sheridan (WY), Lancaster County (PA), and the State of Wisconsin provided brief overviews of their pilot projects and discussed ideas for furthering their objectives with participants.
  • Holly Green of EPA’s Prevention Branch, along with Jim Taft of ASDWA and Dan Yates of GWPC (the SDWA-CWA Collaboration Initiative Workgroup Co-Chairs), shared the goals of the EPA-State Workgroup to develop recommendations, tools, and approaches for state and EPA practitioners, as well as the goals of the SWC’s new Workgroup on the same topic that will focus on value-added tasks that would foster the best use of Clean Water Act tools for SWC members to influence decisions at the state and local levels that protect sources of drinking water.  Both groups share the goal of “Better quality drinking water sources, both surface and ground water, now and in the future.”
  • Closing remarks at the meeting were provided by Bob Perciasepe, Acting EPA Administrator, in support of the SWC’s work and their meaningful leadership and actions to protect drinking water.

For more information about the Collaborative, please visit the web site at:  www.sourcewatercollaborative.org