Enabling Source Water Protection

Aligning state land use and water protection programs

The Enabling Source Water Protection initiative works with states to identify new ways to support local protection of drinking water sources. Working as a team, The Trust for Public Land (TPL), the Smart Growth Leadership Institute, River Network, and the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA) have helped partners in eight states to align land use, clean water and drinking water policies to get better results for public health, public budgets, and the environment.

The problem

State programs interact to shape local choices in complicated ways. Federal and state governments establish distinct programs that may be overwhelming to local governments. One program or agency may be trying to reward local source water protection efforts while another is creating incentives for incompatible uses. New data is helping us understand how land use and development choices affect the quality of ground and surface water sources, making it clear that well-intentioned policies can be working at cross-purposes

How we work

Collaboration is crucial for more efficient, effective drinking water protection. Collaboration can maximize the effectiveness of initiatives led by land use planners, water utilities, watershed associations, government officials, conservationists, farmers and foresters. By working with state program managers, recognized national experts in land use, land conservation, and water quality protection, this project helps states work across political and programmatic boundaries to better align planning, economic development, regulation and conservation to protect drinking water sources at the local and watershed levels.

Read more about the project partners.

This project has been funded through a cooperative agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Division of Ground Water and Drinking Water. Read more about how the EPA supports drinking water protection in your state.