AWWA Launches Drinking Water & Ag Source Water Guide

Source water protection programs take many forms, such as spill prevention and response planning, stakeholder education, coordination with upstream point source dischargers, and addressing upstream nonpoint sources. AWWA has released a new guide that highlights the opportunities for water systems to use USDA conservation programs to protect drinking water sources.

Although all methods of source water protection are important, this document focuses specifically on collaborations between water systems and the agricultural community, which includes farmers, ranchers, forest landowners and their partners.  The online guide, titled USDA Tools to Support Source Water Protection, explains how utilities can leverage USDA programs – particularly through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) – to expand the effectiveness of community partnerships.

The guide emphasizes that water utilities can:

  1. Help shape how conservation dollars are spent, focusing them on the greatest benefits to source water protection.
  2. Foster mutual trust and understanding between water systems and farmers, encouraging constructive problem-solving.
  3. Make progress on specific source water concerns by focusing on practices that will best address them.
  4. Save on treatment costs or delay or avoid installing additional treatment.
  5. Reduce risks to their water supplies.
  6. Increase public confidence in both water and agricultural sectors.
  7. Leverage every dollar they contribute through NRCS and other partners.