Exemplary Source Water Protection Award

Exemplary Source Water Protection Award

Congratulations to the 2024 Award Winner

Greenville water

Small System: No award
Medium System: No award
Very Large System: Greenville Water, South Carolina Section

Award Information

Award title: Exemplary Source Water Protection Award.

Purpose of the award: To recognize drinking water systems who have developed and are implementing exemplary source water protection programs.

The award: The AWWA Exemplary Source Water Protection Program Award plaque.

Frequency of the award: Yearly, up to three awards, with the intent to distribute to organizations representing different water system size classifications based on the population served.

Presentation of the award: The award will be presented at the AWWA Annual Conference and Exposition.

Submission Window: Opens November 1 prior to the award year and remains open until January 15 of the award year.

Deadline for Submission: January 15 of a given award year

Section level awards: Some AWWA sections may also offer an Exemplary Source Water Protection Award at the local level. Contact your local section for more information.

AWWA award committee membership: The Award Committee will be administered by the AWWA Source Water Protection Committee and will be comprised of members of the Source Water Protection Committee as well as other Committees of the AWWA Water Resource Sustainability Division as appropriate. Employees of or consultants to any of the organizations participating in the subject Source Water Protection Program or the nominating organization may not serve on the Award Committee. The Award Committee will make nominations to be approved by the trustees of the AWWA Water Resource Sustainability Division.

Interested in learning more about Source Water Protection? Additional resources and information avaialable on Source Water Proection page.

Award Eligibility Criteria

The applicant will be requested to confirm that they meet the eligibility criteria when starting their online application for their application to be successfully submitted for consideration.


  • Applicant is a Drinking Water System
  • The applicant is in compliance with Applicable Regulatory Requirements
  • Drinking water supply source(s) is associated with a water system or authority that is regulated by a federal/state/province/tribe government agency
  • The applicant verifies that they have based their application on the latest ANSI/AWWA G300 Standard 
  • The applicant has a Directly Responsible Individual* (DRI) for implementation of the Source Water Protection Program (DRI information will be required for the application)
  • The source of drinking water for the system (groundwater, surface water or both)

*DRI – the person, directly employed by a Drinking Water System, that is responsible for the Drinking Water System’s Source Water Protection program implementation (I.e., not a consultant)

Award Selection Criteria

Selection criteria for the award: The award will be based largely on the criteria set forth in the AWWA Standard for Source Water Protection (ANSI/AWWA G300-14/G300-22).

The Standard states that “Source water protection is a highly site-specific process that reflects the inherent diversity of natural waters and the areas from which they are derived. Consequently, successful source water protection programs may vary widely in their details; but it is a premise of this standard that successful programs share several fundamental elements. These elements form the basis of the source water protection standard. Within this generalized framework, individual utilities may establish and maintain source water protection programs that account for their unique local conditions, incorporate the interests of local stakeholders, and reflect sustainable long-term commitments to the process by all parties.”

Specifically, the source water protection program should include each of the following six (6) components outlined below and described in more detail in the Standard: (1) a source water protection program vision; (2) source water characterization; (3) source water protection goals; (4) source water protection action plan; (5) implementation of the action plan; and (6) periodic evaluation and revision of the entire program. Although each of the six primary elements may differ greatly in their complexity or effort, they are each vital to the success of the program. Accordingly, basic success in each area should be demonstrated in order for a utility to obtain recognition in the area of source water protection.

In addition to how well a source water protection program satisfies each of the six (6) program components outlined above for the AWWA Standard, the award will also be based on the following three criteria: (1) the effectiveness of the program; (2) the innovativeness of the program approach; and (3) the difficulties overcome by the organization in satisfying the eligibility criteria.

In determining the award winner(s), consideration may be given to the resources available to the organization for the development and implementation of a source water protection program when judging the programs of organizations of difference sizes (within a specific size category).

Drinking Water System Size Categories:

  • ❏ A: Fewer than 10,000 people served
  • ❏ B: 10,001 – 100,000 people served
  • ❏ C: More than 100,001 people served

Please refer to the online application process below for the award criteria you will be asked to address.

All content that will be evaluated must be provided within the word count allotted. Any links to websites will not be reviewed as part of the award evaluation scoring. AWWA cannot accept any additional supporting materials beyond the information provided in the application form. However, you are encouraged to describe your supporting materials (e.g., source water assessment report, source water protection plan, source water protection implementation reports, and source water monitoring results) within the application itself.

The award score is based on 100 points. Only applicants with a total score of 80 points or above can be considered for the award.

Online Application Process

AWWA’s Source Water Protection committee has updated the submission process where applicants will submit their responses via Microsoft Forms, an online platform used by AWWA. The Microsoft form will need to be completed all at once as AWWA does not have the ability to save incomplete applications to access later. Therefore, we highly recommend that applicants prepare responses ahead of time so that answers are ready to copy and paste into the form. Please note that answers will be word limited as noted in each application question.

Applicants will be requested to confirm eligibility criteria have been met at the start of the online application. The applicant will be asked to provide the following information about their water system in addition to completing the questions in the online application:

  • Source Water (e.g., Groundwater, Surface Water, Both)
  • Name of Drinking Water System
  • State(s)/Province(s)/Tribe(s) in which the system operates
  • Drinking Water System Source Water Protection Program Directly Responsible Person* contact information
  • Is the award applicant an AWWA member?
  • Population Served by the water system
  • For wholesaler, provide total population served (including all consecutive systems)
  • Average daily water production for the water system (mgd)

*The person at the Drinking Water System who is responsible for the implementation of the Source Water Protection program.

The online application consists of the following questions, each with a word limit, and weighting found below.

Evaluation Matrix
  Question Criteria Covered Maximum Word Count Evaluation Criteria Scoring (Total available points = 100)
1 Describe in two sentences per program element, how your source water protection program conforms with the AWWA Utility Management Standard on Source Water Protection (i.e., ANSI/AWWA G300) and meet the 6 key elements of a Source Water Protection program: 1) Vision and Stakeholder Involvement, 2) Source Water Characterization, 3) Program Goals, 4) Action Plan (Roadmap/Workplan); 5) Implementation, and 6) Evaluation. G300 Conformity 250 G300-14 / G300-22 5
2 Describe your efforts to engage and collaborate with stakeholders in the development and implementation of your source water protection program and the outcomes of the engagement and collaboration initiatives with stakeholders. Stakeholder Engagement 250 Show engagement throughout the process: Vision development, characterization, Stakeholder consultation and documentation during goal development, etc. 5
3 What long-term commitment do you have to the ongoing process of source water protection? Please provide your formalized Source Water Protection centric vision or policy statement and resource allocation for long-term planning (such as financial, personnel, and technological resources for implementation). Vision/Commitment 250 Includes/addresses/references:
  • Written Statement
  • How it was developed
  • Recognizes 1 of multiple barriers
  • Commitment to resources
  • Key stakeholders
4 How did you characterize your source water and the source water protection area with accuracy and completeness? Described how you assessed and documented the following:
  • Delineation
  • Water Quality Assessment
  • Water Quantity Assessment
  • Land Use & Contaminant Sources
  • Compliance with Regulatory Requirements
  • Security Planning & Implementation
  • Emergency Preparation & Response
  • H&S Management
  • Stakeholders
Up to three (3) context maps/supporting Information pieces are allowed to be uploaded (10 MB limit per document).
Characterization 1,750 Includes/addresses/references:
  • Delineation
  • Water Quality Assessment
  • Water Quantity Assessment
  • Land Use & Contaminant Sources
  • Compliance with Regulatory Requirements
  • Security Planning & Implementation
  • Emergency Preparation & Response
  • H&S Management
  • Stakeholders
5 What are your source water protection goals, and how do they align with your overall program vision? Describe the drivers that your organization identified as reasons to implement source water protection activities and how these influenced the goals of your source water protection program. Goals 250
  • Addresses Quality Issues (public health, aesthetics, other)
  • Written Statement
  • Stakeholder Consultation & Documentation
  • Addresses issues identified in characterization
  • Expressed in a way that can be measured/evaluated
  • Meet regulatory compliance & future needs
6 Describe your action plan and how your action plan lays out a road map and timeline of activities to be conducted in order to achieve the desired Source Water protection goals based on your vision, source water area characterization and susceptivity analysis, and how you implemented these activities over time. Action Plan 1,750
  • ID Required Actions/Measures (Management Practices, statutory/regulatory changes, agreements)
  • Establish Priorities
  • Establish Implementation Timetable
  • Identify Resources Required
  • Identify Potential Problems with Implementation
  • Controls (monitor progress, financial changes)
7 What progress has your organization made in implementing the action plan, and what measurable outcomes have been achieved in source water protection? Implementation 1,750   20
8 What mechanisms do you have in place for continuous improvement/adaptive management and revision of your source water protection program? How do you periodically evaluate and revise your source water protection program to ensure its ongoing effectiveness and adaptability? How do you measure and evaluate the outcomes and impact of various components and practices of your source water protection program? Periodic Evaluation, Revision and Effectiveness 1,750
  • Response to Change (SW delineation, new data/info, new regulations, changes in priorities, changes in performance)
  • Evaluation Procedure (includes periodic evaluation)
  • Measure accomplishments/Completion of Action Plan Items
9 Are there any creative practices or approaches you have implemented in your source water protection program that allow you to generate sustainable and impactful outcomes? What are the obstacles/difficulties/constraints in program development and/or implementation that you had to overcome? Innovation and Resourcefulness 250   5
10 How is your program documented and what data management strategies do you use? Verification Practices 250   5

Resubmissions: Should the applicant not be successful in their award submission, the applicant is welcome and encouraged to reapply for the award. Prior to any resubmissions, the applicant is encouraged to request feedback for incorporation so updates can be incorporated into the resubmitted application. Resubmissions will be required to have updated content identified and/or highlighted. 

Please direct any questions to awards@awwa.org.


Past Exemplary Source Water Protection Award Recipients

2023 Recipients
Small System: Winterset Municipal Water Works, Iowa Section
Medium System: No award
Large System: North Texas Municipal Water District, Texas Section

2022 Recipients
Small System: No award
Medium System: No award
Large System: Truckee Meadows Water Authority, Reno Nevada

2021 Recipients
Small System: No award
Medium System: City of Gresham, Gresham Oregon
Large System: West Virginia American Water, Charleston West Virginia

2020 Recipients
Small System: Tahoe Water Suppliers Association, NV
Medium System: City Water, Light and Power, Springfield, IL
Large System: Beaver Water District, Lowell AR

2019 Recipients
Small System: City of Mankato Minnesota 2019
Medium System: The City of Guelph Ontario 2019
Large System: City of Tulsa Oklahoma 2019

2018 Recipients
Small System: Rock County Rural Water District, MN
Medium System: Clackamas River, OR
Large System: Albuquerque Bernalillo County, NM

2017 Recipients
Small System: No award
Medium System: City of Bremerton Public Works and Utilities, WA
Large System:  Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, UT

2016 Recipients
Small System: No award
Medium System: Central Utah Water Conservancy District - Provo River Watershed Council, UT
Large System: The Regional Municipality of York, Ontario, Canada

2015 Recipients
Small System: No award
Medium System: No award
Large System: Eugene Water and Electric Board, Eugene, OR

2014 Recipients
Small System: No award
Medium System: No award
Large System: City of Kalamazoo, MI
Very Large System: Spokane Aquifer Joint Board, WA

2013 Recipients
Small System: No award
Medium System: Brandon Fire District #1, VT
Large System: Reading Area Water Authority, PA
Metro System: New York City Department of Environmental Protection, NY

2012 Recipients
Small System: DeSota, IA
Medium System: No award
Large System: Portland, ME
Metro System: Sacramento, CA

2011 Recipients
Small System:  City of Clare, MI
Medium System: Crystal Falls Township, MI
Large System: City of Wilmington, DE

2010 Recipients
Small System: Remsen Municipal Utilities, IA
Medium System: Seelyville Water Works, IN
Large System:  Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, Boston, MA

2009 Recipients
Small System: No award
Medium System: City of Big Rapid, MI
Large System: Louisville Water Company, KY
Large System: Metropolitan Water District of Salt Lake and Sandy (District), UT

2008 Recipients
Medium System: City of Davison, Davison, MI
Large System: Indiana American Water, Richmond District, IN

2007 Recipients
Small System: Ira Township, Fair Haven, MI
Medium System: Charter Township of Waterford, Waterford, MI
Large System: Contra Costa Water District, Concord, CA

2006 Recipients
Small System: No award
Medium System: Nevada Tahoe Water Supplier Association, NV
Large System: Suffolk County Water Authority, Oakdale, NY

2005 Recipients
Small System: City of Ionia, Ionia, MI
Medium System: No award
Large System: No award

2004 Recipients
Small System: Village of Milford, Milford, MI
Medium System: City of Battle Creek, Battle Creek, MI
Large System: Portland Water Bureau, Portland, OR

2003 Recipients
Small System: Chippewa Falls Water Utility, Chippewa Falls, WI
Medium System: Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Canada
Large System: Philadelphia Water Department, Philadelphia, PA