The U.S and Canada both require communities to assess drinking water sources for potential sources of contamination; however, jurisdictions vary in what types of planning efforts are required to respond to identified threats and protect drinking water sources.
- Effective and up-to-date planning efforts allow communities to identify current threats to drinking water sources and set goals for protection and risk mitigation.
- Planning to protect source water also means preparing for the unexpected, including spills of polluting material. Specialized teams collaborate with local communities to ensure effective spill response activities that protect sources of drinking water.
See below for related Investments that support source water planning and regional collaboration.
Source water protection in Québec is implemented as a key aspect of integrated water resource management plans. Québec is divided into 40 watershed management areas, each of which is guided by a water master plan developed by the watershed organization made up of regional county municipalities, municipalities, environmental groups and citizens.
The 2006 Clean Water Act requires the assessment of threats to sources of drinking water and the implementation of protection plans. Ontario established source protection areas based on natural watershed boundaries and created local multi-stakeholder source protection committees to facilitate compliance with this requirement.
Indiana’s Wellhead Protection Rule requires all community public water systems using groundwater as their source to develop plans to protect groundwater. The wellhead protection plans exceed what is required by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
The Winnebago Waterways Program works with watershed residents to improve, protect and enjoy the lakes and tributaries within the Winnebago System.
The Northeast Wisconsin Stormwater Consortium (NEWSC) is a consortium of 41 permitted MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems) that is led by the Fox Wolf Watershed Alliance. NEWSC helps communities work together to meet and exceed Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources stormwater regulations.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) Source Water Assessment and Protection Program has invested millions of dollars to help create and implement protection plans for sources of drinking water that serve over 5.1 million people across the state. Source water protection is also a key component of the state’s harmful algal bloom and surface water treatment rules.
Great Lakes Water Authority has developed voluntary Surface Water Intake Protection Plans (SWIPP) for three surface water intakes located in Lake Huron and the Detroit River. The two Detroit River intakes are in urbanized areas with influences from the U.S. and Canada. The Lake Huron intake is situated further from industrial activities and urbanized areas but remains susceptible to the impacts of agricultural and stormwater runoff.
The city of Toledo participates in multiple regional partnerships and planning efforts aimed at mitigating spills that could potentially impact sources of drinking water.