Our goal is for all Great Lakes Basin sources of drinking water to be protected from multiple threats in order to ensure that residents have access to a safe and sustainable supply of drinking water. We’re using the principles of Blue Accounting to identify top threats to safe drinking water and strategies and investments for mitigating these threats, and to track the progress of these efforts against our goal.

Download the Source Water fact sheet here.

Tracking Progress

The Source Water Work Group has identified the top Basin-wide threats to drinking water sources and appropriate metrics for tracking progress toward mitigating those threats:  

Metrics by Goal

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  • Percent of HUC12 watersheds designated as ”impaired” in the U.S. 
  • Number of inland drinking water supplies that source drinking water from nutrient-impaired watersheds
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  • Existence of plans designed to protect source water, as well as the population covered by these plans
  • Age of plan and applicable update cycles
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  • Participation in local spill preparedness activities (i.e. area contingency planning)
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  • Monitoring data and trends for Contaminants of Emerging Concern through the U.S. EPA Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR)
Our Goals and Why They Matter

Our Goals


Goal: Nutrient Impacts

Nutrients are critical to agricultural production, but too much of a good thing can cause problems for sources of drinking water. Nutrients, including phosphorus and nitrogen, can also enter waterways from community wastewater and storm water.Andriy Blokhin/Shutterstock)


Goal: Management Strategies and Planning

To reach a goal, it helps to know where you're going and have the tools necessary to get there. Effective and up-to-date planning efforts allow communities to set a course for source water protection. (©Shutterstock)

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Goal: Spill Prevention and Response

Planning to protect source water also means preparing for the unexpected. Being ready to execute plans under emergency conditions, including spills of polluting material, is critical to protecting our sources of drinking water. (©Gabor Kenyeres/Shutterstock)


Goal: Contaminants of Emerging Concern

The pharmaceuticals pictured here are just one type of substance with potential impacts on source water. Thousands of other substances that are present in our everyday lives are also considered contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) and may be present in sources of drinking water. Understanding the effects of CECs and their presence in source water is a difficult, yet valuable, goal. (©Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock)