On Aug. 6, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) headquarters announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest up to $360 million in partner-driven conservation for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). This announcement is a huge step toward protecting sources of drinking water in areas where agricultural production (farming, ranching and forestry) are of concern, and the deployment of conservation practices could assist in remedying known problems or preventing new ones from occurring. The 2018 Farm Bill emphasizes protecting sources of drinking water. Due in part to AWWA’s advocacy efforts, the bill includes several provisions to enhance opportunities to deploy agricultural conservation funds to protect drinking water, including RCPP. Within RCPP, applicants form partnerships with organizations with common interests (agricultural production, water quality, species habitat, source water protection and others) and come together to address resource concerns at scale. As part of these partnerships, NRCS pays about half of the overall costs, and the partners contribute (cash and in-kind) the other half. In the context of source water protection, efforts have included the deployment of practices that address inputs of nutrients, sediments, agricultural chemicals, and animal waste through the deployment of best practices, easements, and other tools. Applications are due to NRCS on Nov. 4, 2020. Those interested in applying should consider: Reading about the current opportunity on Grants.gov , review NRCS’s RCPP home page , and explore past RCPP awards . Reaching out to local partners (conservation districts, producer groups, watershed organizations, etc.) to help identify project scope, goals, and partner contributions. Contacting their NRCS state conservationist or their designated state NRCS RCPP coordinator to express their interest in applying for RCPP, ask for advice, and encourage early buy-in. Assuring that the lead partner (whichever organization will be submitting the application) has a Dun & Bradstreet number (D-U-N-S), is registered in the System for Award Management (SAM), has obtained USDA e-authentication level 2 access, and registers for the RCPP portal. Because it can take several weeks to complete these administrative steps, it is essential to complete them early. AWWA’s Source Water Protection resource page has additional information about this topic. Questions can be directed to Adam Carpenter , AWWA’s energy and environmental policy manager or Tracy Mehan , AWWA’s executive director of government affairs.