Utah

Program Year: Two

Client: Division of Drinking Water (Department of Environmental Quality)

State-identified Need: Inform other state agencies of source water protection requirements and potential overlap with their own permitting and regulatory decision-making.

Project Summary: Determine best opportunities for inter-agency communication and coordination, and develop recommendations to establish and maintain these relationships as a routine part of agency business.

Methodology: The project team conducted an initial research trip to conduct baseline interviews with staff from multiple state agencies, drinking water providers, local government associations, and non-profits. Additional research led to the development of a draft set of recommendations, which the team presented to a group of more than 30 staff from multiple state agencies with land use permitting and regulatory responsibilities. The workshop, designed to increase understanding of source water protection needs and opportunities for collaboration, also elicited additional suggestions to improve communications. The final report uses the results from this workshop to refine a series of final recommendations.

Recommendations: Final recommendations for Utah's Division of Drinking Water focused on three strategies to improve communication and coordination with other agencies:

  • Educate state partners about the Drinking Water Source Protection Program. A common theme emerged from the June meeting: other agencies and divisions within the state want to incorporate source water considerations, but are not certain how to proceed. The Division of Drinking Water can give state partners information about source water protection issues, needs and programs, as well as basic tools to support ongoing communication among state and local partners.
  • Share information about locations of source water protection areas and potential source water quality impacts. Utah has several excellent GIS-based tools to share information within and between agencies, but at the time of the project no tool was specifically designed to streamline identifying potential impacts to drinking water sources.
  • Work with other DEQ Divisions to develop source water protection components of other water quality permitting programs.

Work Underway:The Utah Division of Drinking Water recently designed a GIS-based nitrate modeling tool in coordination with state partners to model nitrate concentrations at multiple scales through time. They are using funds available from section 319 of the Clean Water Act for reducing nonpoint source pollution to implement best management practices in susceptible source water protection areas identified using the tool. Learn more >>

Download the Final Utah Report.