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AWWA Releases Guide to Protect Source Water

The American Water Works Association recently released a guide that highlights opportunities for water systems to utilize U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation programs to protect drinking water sources.

The AWWA’s online guide, titled USDA Tools to Support Source Water Protection, explains how utilities can leverage USDA programs – particularly through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) – to expand the effectiveness of community partnerships. USDA has funding and programs in place to assist farmers and ranchers in implementing conservation practices, including source water protection. The guide encourages water utilities to work with the agricultural community and local partners to access these programs for the benefit of all parties.

The guide emphasizes that water utilities can:

1. Help shape how conservation dollars are spent, focusing them on the greatest benefits to source water protection.

2. Foster mutual trust and understanding between water systems and farmers, encouraging constructive problem-solving.

3. Make progress on specific source water concerns by focusing on practices that will best address them.

4. Save on treatment costs or delay or avoid installing additional treatment.

5. Reduce risks to their water supplies.

6. Increase public confidence in both water and agricultural sectors.

7. Leverage every dollar they contribute through NRCS and other partners.

AWWA is also bringing attention to the benefits of USDA conservation programs in the reauthorization of the U.S. Farm Bill. The Association created a whiteboard animation video to more clearly illustrate how these programs are key to protecting drinking water sources. The video is available on AWWA’s YouTube channel.