Source Water Stewardship: A Guide to Protecting and Restoring Your Drinking Water


“The 1996 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act contain a new focus on protecting our drinking water sources, in addition to treating drinking water to remove contaminants. To meet the new requirements, states must ensure that each water system has a Source Water Assessment (assessment). An assessment provides information about the source of drinking water in your community, whether it is from ground or surface water.

But what happens once your drinking water source is assessed? The new Safe Drinking Water Act doesn’t have much to say about that. That’s where you come in!

Once assessments are completed, state and local governments, water providers, and citizens like you will have to create an action plan to address the problems and risks identified in the assessments. Luckily, even though the Safe Drinking Water Act is silent about how to protect and restore source waters, many regulatory and non-regulatory tools exist to get the job done.

This handbook walks you through a process for understanding your assessment, reaching out to others who are or should be involved in protecting and restoring drinking water quality, and designing an action plan for drinking water protection and restoration.”

PDF icon Get the complete guide (PDF – 6.2 MB) developed by Clean Water Action

Source Water Assessment Basics

Source Water Assessments must include four basic elements:

  • A delineation (or mapping) of the source water assessment area.
  • An inventory of actual and potential sources of contamination in the delineated area.
  • An analysis of the susceptibility of the water supply to those contamination sources.
  • A mechanism for sharing the results widely with the public.

For more on Source Water Assessments, visit the U.S. EPA’s source water page.


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