Program Year: One

Client: Maine CDC Drinking Water Program (Department of Health and Human Services)

State-identified Need: Leverage limited funding for source water protection by engaging state agencies with land use impacts in protecting water quality.

Project Summary: Develop a prioritized list of action items that will make it easier for local governments and state agencies to consider source water protection needs as part of current programs and activities.

Methodology: In-depth analysis of existing programs and listening sessions with representatives from across the state led to the development of a draft set of alignment opportunities. The project team facilitated a workshop to review these opportunities. The project team used input from this workshop to develop a set of recommended actions, which workshop participants evaluated via an online survey to assess feasibility, cost and effectiveness.

Recommendations: Ten recommended action items addressed the economic value of clean sources of drinking water, the need for a one-stop GIS shop, opportunities to identify additional funding for source protection, and ways to increase the use of land use planning as a source protection measure.

The top five recommendations, in order of priority:

  • Incorporate drinking water source protection among the assets considered for the Quality of Place Investments Strategy, an economic development strategy focused on identifying, preserving and reinforcing Maine's natural, cultural, economic and human assets.
  • Streamline statewide GIS databases and develop protocols for collecting, analyzing, uploading, and managing data to provide a one-stop center for state, local and regional governments, and to reduce duplication of efforts and funding.
  • Develop overarching guidelines for compatible recreational opportunities on land and in waters critical to drinking water source protection.
  • Increase funding for drinking water source protection through the creation of a dedicated funding program.
  • Enhance existing Current Use Tax Program to include landscapes important for protection of drinking water sources.

Work Underway: The Maine Drinking Water Program has taken a number of measures to ensure that its aquifers and surface sources provide clean drinking water for the state – now and into the future. The following stand out as model practices and programs.

  • In an effort to increase access to geospatial data among state agency staff while also reducing overhead and maintenance costs, the Maine Drinking Water Program has made geospatial data accessible on the web. As a result, data about drinking water supplies more frequently informs permitting and land use planning decisions throughout the state. Learn more >>
  • The state’s water supply classification program developed years ago still drives regulatory decisions today and exemplifies how the state Drinking Water Program effectively works across state agency programs. Learn more >>
  • The Maine Saco River Corridor Commission is an example of a special planning authority devoted to improved water quality and thoughtful planning around a single body of water. The Commission formed in the 1970s and has had a crucial role in protecting an important drinking water source. Learn more >>
  • The Drinking Water Program has been working on a number of projects that emphasize quality of place and the benefits of conserving working forests and agricultural lands for water quality protection. Learn more >>

Download the Final Maine Report.