Source Water Collaborative

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The Source Water Collaborative (SWC or Collaborative) consists of 25 diverse federal, state and local partners that have come together to protect drinking water sources. Sources of drinking water include lakes, rivers, streams and aquifers. Signed by the 25 members, the Collaborative's vision statement defines its mission, describes how it works, and identifies goals and objectives.

The SWC website has a list with links to members and allies in your area. lt has information on source water protection, including building local or regional collaboratives. Information for local stakeholders is available in dcuments like the Advice Worth Drinking,  A Planners's Guide and the Your Water. Your Decision. Guide for local officials are available as well. 


Interested in getting more on the ground agricultural conservation practices to help protect sources of drinking water? The SWC website tab, SWP & USDA, links to a collaboration toolkit for protecting drinking water sources through agricultural conservation practices. This toolkit, developed through extensive collaboration between the SWC and Natural Resources Conservation Service, offers a step-by-step approach.

Interested in receiving updates from the Source Water Collaborative? Visit the SWC's website to sign up for email alerts to stay in the know about source water news and events:

Free Tool to Customize Your Own Guide for Local Officials

The Source Water Collaborative created the "Your Water. Your Decision." guide as a method for source water protection professionals to quickly produce a guide for outreach to local officials and start a conversation about protecting drinking water.

The free and easy to use online tool allows you to create a customized guide that will provide your local officials with what they need to know about drinking water protection needs in your community. With the tool you can create a professional brochure in minutes from your own computer. You can add trusted local, state and federal sources relevant to your issue and add your logo, contact information, pictures and more to quickly create guides for specific meetings and audiences.

Reach Out to Planners

Every day, land use decisions affect future drinking water supplies – either intentionally or inadvertently. To get control of the issue, you can integrate source water planning into your normal planning activities, from visioning to zoning, to provide sustainable sources of drinking water. The Source Water Collaborative website offers a planner's guide to help you develop a strategic plan to protect your drinking water supply.

Estimate Costs and Benefits of Source Water Protection

The Cost Benefit Tool  is designed to assist utility representatives and the stakeholders they work with in evaluating the triple bottom-line costs and benefits of different source water protection options. Cost/benefit calculations help evaluate, prioritize, justify, and ultimately implement source water protection initiatives. Benefit-cost analysis (BCA) is a technique that enables program evaluators to undertake structured comparative analyses of alternative approaches that achieve the same general outcome. It is widely used, and in some cases federally mandated, in evaluating complex projects that have substantial environmental and social impacts.

Build a Collaborative

The SWC has become a model for collaboration of organizations working together to protect drinking water sources. It is developing materials to help other organizations build their own collaborative. We’d love to hear from you: What would you need to form a collaborative? Send suggestions for resources that may help you to .

Engage in Local Source Water Protection

In 2010, the SWC began helping to build local and regional collaboratives for source water protection. Members have implemented Strategic Forums to assist an existing collaborative around the Salmon Falls Watershed in New Hampshire and Maine and help build a new collaborative in the Delaware River Basin.

The Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative (SFWC)  is an action-oriented partnership between local, state and federal partners working to protect and sustain high quality drinking water in the Salmon Falls River watershed. The SFWC includes natural resource experts, municipalities, land trusts and local water districts. It developed an action plan to protect clean drinking water for current and future generations.  Federal partners include USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service and EPA.  The SFWC won the U.S. Waterprize from Clean Water America Alliance

The Delaware River Basin Source Water Collaborative, an affiliate of the national Source Water Collaborative, is a basin-wide partnership that formed to identify and explore issues impacting water resource sustainability for the more than 15 million people who rely on surface and ground water from the basin for drinking water. A multi-site forum was held in March 2011 and laid the framework for the continuing dialogue among all who are dependent upon the source water from this unique basin.

The North Carolina Source Water Collaborative is modeled after the national Source Water Collaborative. It is a statewide partnership of state, local and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, university programs, professional associations, and regional councils of government that supports strategies designed to preserve the lakes, streams, rivers and aquifers used for drinking water. With seed money from EPA, the North Carolina Source Water Protection Program held a workshop in December 2011 to launch the North Carolina Source Water Collaborative. The NC Source Water Collaborative has developed a vision statement and statement of purpose.

Find Allies in Your Area

Interested in protecting sources of drinking water locally? See who may be working on source water protection in your community or state. This list includes people who may be involved with the issue and those who are local members of the Source Water Collaborative who are active in source water protection. You can also find the Environmental Protection Agency's list of local watershed groups.

You can promote state and local actions to protect drinking water sources by gaining the support of key players, e.g., relevant federal and state agencies, regional and local planning organizations, local decision makers and utilities, and watershed groups to catalyze a collaborative partnership that promotes and sustains source water protection through voluntary programs and through local land use, water resource management and business licensing decisions.

Connect with our National Members

American Planning Association

American Water Works Association

Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies

Association of State Drinking Water Administrators

Association of Clean Water Administrators

Association of State and Territorial Health Officials

Clean Water Fund

Environmental Finance Center Network

Environmental Protection Agency

The Groundwater Foundation

Ground Water Protection Council

Natonal Association of Conservation Districts

National Association of Counties

National Environmental Services Center

National Ground Water Association

National Rural Water Association

North American Lake Management Society

River Network

Rural Community Assistance Partnership

Smart Growth America

Trust for Public Land

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Farm Service Agency

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Forest Service

U.S. Geological Survey

Water Systems Council