Source Water Protection in the 21st Century

July 14, 2015

As news arises of drought, harmful algal blooms, and chemical spills across the nation, we are regularly reminded of the need to protect drinking water in our cities and communities. Every day, land use decisions affect future drinking water supplies, either intentionally or inadvertently. By protecting sources of drinking water through regular planning activities and practices like green infrastructure, we can build resilient, healthy, and beautiful communities.

The Source Water Collaborative formed in 2006 with the goal to combine the strengths and tools of a diverse set of member organizations to act now, and protect sources of drinking water for generations to come. As a member of the collaborative, APA works with partners like the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, Smart Growth America, and many others to help communities across the nation protect sources of drinking water.

In this session, members of the Source Water Collaborative:

  • Presented tools and resources that planners can use to integrate source water protection into visioning, zoning, and beyond.
  • Showcased several cities that are building plans to safeguard their water supplies while engaging local residents and beautifying neighborhoods.
  • Offered tips for working with state and local partners as part of a collaborative group to protect drinking water — and find help, expertise, and resources.
  • Highlighted critical areas of key action needed to protect drinking water into the future.
  • Discussed strategies for funding projects, finding help and technical assistance, leveraging data from local partners like drinking water utilities and industry, and more.

PowerPoint presentation (ppt)

PDF of PowerPoint presentation (pdf)

Rachel Carlson

Rachel Carlson

Rachel Carlson is an environmental protection specialist in the Drinking Water Protection Division, Office of GroundWater and Drinking Water, U.S. EPA. She assists with geospatial analysis and outreach in a variety of projects to protect sources of drinkingwater and participates in the Source Water Collaborative, a group of 26 national organizations including APA that are dedicated to protectingsource water. Prior to joining EPA, Carlson worked for watershed projects under the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Senegal and Guinea, as well as several nonprofit initiatives in Ireland, India, and the U.S. Carlson holds a Master of Civil and Environmental Engineering degree from Rice University and an MS in International Politics from Trinity College, Dublin.

Jim Taft

Jim Taft

Jim Taft is executive director of the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, which supports the efforts of drinking water program administrators in states, territories, the District of Columbia, and the Navajo Nation as they implement the provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Previously, Taft worked for the U.S. EPA (Office of Wastewater Management & Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water), the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the Ocean County (New Jersey) Utilities Authority, and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission. Taft holds a BS in Biology from Villanova University and an MS from the University of Cincinnati in Environmental Engineering.