North Carolina

Program Year: Two

Client: Source Water Protection Program (North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources)

State-identified Need: Establish source water protection connections at the local level to compliment existing state-level partnerships.

Project Summary: Develop recommendations to help the NC SWP Program assist local leaders and officials as they justify, initiate and implement source water protection activities.

Methodology: A kick-off meeting with more than forty representatives of associations of local governments, watershed organizations, land trusts, state agencies, and academic centers established the team's focus on five areas: developing incentives to undertake source water protection; improving access to critical information and technical assistance for local governments and nonprofit organizations; pointing out how a variety of funding programs and mechanisms can be used for source water protection; and clarifying how regulatory programs can support source water protection. Further interviews with attendees and others in the state led to the development of a set of final recommendations.

Recommendations: Recommended actions include:

  • Enhance the NC SWP Program website to promote the involvement of local government, watershed groups and land conservation organizations in source water protection.
  • Create incentives to encourage source water protection actions on the part of water suppliers, land developers and local governments.
  • Improve access to relevant state and federal funding programs.
  • Offer Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund interest rate reductions for sponsoring source water protection projects.
  • Work with partners to enhance Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund support of drinking water protection, green infrastructure, water and other environmentally innovative activities.
  • Establish new outreach/coordination mechanisms such as a state "Source Water Collaborative."
  • Promote the development of local funding for source water protection. Download Developing Local Funding to Protect Drinking Water Sources in North Carolina: A Guide for Local Government Officials.
  • Enhance existing regulatory programs to support source water protection.

Work Underway:North Carolina is a leading state in drinking water protection and they continue to develop and improve upon existing programs. The following programs and practices stand out as model practices.

  • The North Carolina Source Water Protection Program developed web-based mapping tools to increase awareness of their source water assessments. The tools both enable decision-makers to easily determine if projects fall within source water assessment areas and help to make the case for funding water quality projects in these areas. Learn more >>
  • North Carolina’s Water Supply Watershed Protection Program has water supply classifications that limit new development, new wastewater dischargers, and other land use activities around surface water areas. Local governments are required to adopt minimum standards in their ordinances, but many have also adopted more stringent standards and enhanced outreach efforts. Learn more >>
  • Even before the final report was completed, conversations among the project team, North Carolina's CWSRF administrators, and Source Water Protection program staff had already resulted in increased consideration for source water protection in the clean water revolving loan fund. Learn more >>
  • North Carolina’s new Source Water Collaborative is an autonomous group working various programs to support local actions to protect drinking water sources. Learn more >>
  • The Source Water Protection program became a sponsor of the Greater Triangle Stewardship Development Awards Program, a group created by citizens and working with developers and local and state government to recognize developments that protected and enhance the natural environment and existing communities. Learn more >>

Download the Final North Carolina Report.