| AWWA launching new Source Water Protection Week
AWWA Articles

AWWA launching new Source Water Protection Week

Source Water Protection WeekThe American Water Works Association (AWWA) invites water utilities, sections and other partners to join the Association in declaring Sept. 26 – Oct. 2 the first-ever “Source Water Protection Week.”

Throughout the week, AWWA will be raising awareness about the importance of protecting precious drinking water sources. AWWA’s Source Water Protection Week materials are now available, and additional resources will be added between now and Sept. 26.

Chi Ho Sham“AWWA and many other organizations at the federal, state and local level recognize the need to join forces to advance the protection of limited drinking water at the source,” said AWWA president Chi Ho Sham (pictured right). “This includes sharing tools and information, collecting data, supporting assessment and protection plans and encouraging upstream entities to take on shared responsibility.”

As part of Source Water Protection Week, AWWA is hosting a #ShowYourSource social media contest. Beginning Sept. 26, utilities and partner organizations are encouraged to post photos or short videos on social media using the hashtag #ShowYourSource to showcase their precious water sources. 

The idea of an AWWA Source Water Protection Week stems from a meeting among Sham; Jennifer Heymann of American Water, a past chair of AWWA’s Source Water Protection Committee and a current trustee and vice chair of the Water Resource Sustainability Division; and Rebecca Ohrtman of Water Quality Consulting, L.L.C., a water quality consultant with 15 years of  source water protection program experience at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 

Rebecca OhrtmanOhrtman (pictured right) facilitated the establishment of the 2016 Iowa Source Water Protection Week. This concept expands upon a Source Water Protection Week that American Water employees celebrated in September 2020.

Jennifer Heymann“Those of us on the front lines of drinking water protection share a unique opportunity to protect local water sources, including surface and ground water, as part of an effective and cost-efficient multiple-barrier approach to providing reliable and high quality drinking water to the communities we serve,” said Heymann (pictured left)

Ohrtman noted that many water quality and quantity challenges are both pressing and ongoing. “We can utilize new technologies to update and improve source water assessments and collaborate with local stakeholders to develop viable source water protection plans,” she said. 

 “When implemented, these plans can reduce risks to drinking water supplies, providing public health advantages as well as economic benefits,” she added. “Source water planning provides local awareness and education.”

More information about Source Water Protection is available on AWWA’s resource page and at the Source Water Collaborative Learning Exchange.