Learn About Source Water

What is Source Water?

The term “source water” refers to untreated water from surface and ground sources. It is the raw water that we use for our source of drinking water. Without a clean source of water, our survival would be severely compromised.

What is source water protection?

Simply put, source water protection means protecting your source of drinking water. Source water protection was founded on the concept that informed citizens, equipped with fundamental knowledge about their drinking water source and the threats to it, will be the most effective advocates for protecting this crucial resource. The idea behind source water protection is that prevention is always preferred to treatment. 

Why is source water protection important? 

A proactive approach to protecting Idaho’s drinking water is essential to maintaining clean water for current and future generations. Water is constantly moving through the environment. For this reason, pollution of drinking water sources can become widespread and affect people outside of your own community. Sometimes contamination can be so widespread that it is impossible to clean up, or incredibly expensive to do so. By protecting our water now, these negative outcomes can be reduced. We strongly encourage your drinking water utility to create a Source Water Protection Plan as part of its drinking water protection efforts.

What is a Source Water Protection Plan?

A Source Water Protection Plan (SWPP) is a management plan that your public water system can create to proactively protect its drinking water source. Once your SWPP is certified through the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), your system will be able to enjoy a variety of priceless benefits.

What are the benefits of creating a Source Water Protection Plan? 

  • Preservation of a vital resource
  • Protection of public health and safety
  • Reduced risk of contamination in your community
  • Utility savings
  • Coordination with local stakeholders, businesses, government entities, and large water users
  • Community education regarding your utilities and environment
  • Grant eligibility with some agencies

What can IRWA help you with?

Our team of Source Water Specialists is available to provide professional on-site assistance and training to public water systems as they develop and implement a Source Water Protection Plan. Assistance includes:

  • Help in forming a planning team to create the Source Water Protection Plan as a community.
  • Facilitation of the Source Water Protection Plan once it is completed.
  • Source water protection presentations to local officials and the community.
  • Assistance with grant applications for all eligible water systems within Idaho.
  • Education and outreach materials for your system regarding drinking water protection and conservation.
  • Assistance with coordination, communication and collaboration between the community, multi-jurisdictional entities, and local, county, state and federal agencies in the development and implementation of source water protection activities.
  • Public education for your residents, such as presentations at schools, local fairs, and other community events.
  • Representation for your system during all Idaho rule changes that could affect rural source water protection.

Contact Us!

Please contact us if you value a clean, high quality, drinking water supply and would like to work collaboratively with your community to develop an official Source Water Protection Plan.

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