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The Source Water Protection Resource Community is intended to keep the water industry informed about current resources, tools, issues and developments related to source water protection. 

If you have any questions or updates to share, please submit them to AWWA.

Effect of Forest Cover on Drinking Water Treatment Costs Report

The Effect of Forest Cover on Drinking Water Treatment Costs report explores this relationship using results from a 2014 survey by AWWA that targeted utilities in forested ecoregions in the United States. This report was funded by the AWWA Technical & Educational Council and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities Inc. in conjunction with the US Forest Service and The Cadmus Group. 


Case Studies and Research

  • Beyond the Source: The Environmental, Economic and Community Benefits of Source Water Protection (HTML, The Nature Conservancy, 2017)
    The report analyzes the source watersheds of more than 4,000 large cities around the world. It illustrates how nature-based solutions such as reforestation, forest protection, and improved agriculture practices can be implemented at a scale to make a difference in mitigating and adapting to climate change, conserving biodiversity, and contributing to the health and well-being of billions of people.
  • Nature's Return: Investment in Watershed Conservation Yields Significant Cost-Savings for Water Utilities (HTML, Waterworld, 2015)
    The Urban Water Blueprint, a new report by The Nature Conservancy, collected and analyzed three years' worth of data in more than 2,000 watersheds and 530 cities worldwide, revealing the annual costs - and potential cost savings - of watershed conservation at scale.
  • Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources (HTML, USEPA, 2014)
    EPA is conducting a study to better understand any potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas on drinking water resources. The scope of the research includes the full lifespan of water in hydraulic fracturing. Available resources include fact sheets, publications, Q&A, and links to related studies.
  • Wildfire Impacts on Water Supplies and the Potential for Mitigation: Workshop Report (PDF, 2.5 MB, Water Research Foundation and Canadian Water Network, 2014)
    Summarizes workshop discussions around knowledge and capability with respect to wildfires, water supplies, and the potential for mitigation of the impacts of wildfire on the provision of safe drinking water. The workshop was scoped with Alberta's needs in mind but the outcomes are equally relevant to many areas in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Effects of Wildfire on Drinking Water Utilities and Best Practices for Wildfire Risk Reduction and Mitigation (PDF, 1.7 MB, Water Research Foundation, 2013)
    Presents current information on the impacts from wildfires on drinking water utilities and lessons learned and recommendations for future research that were discussed during the Wildfire Readiness and Response Workshop held in Denver, Colo., in April 2013.
  • Watershed Analysis of Dissolved Organic Matter and Control Of Disinfection By-Products (PDF, Water Research Foundation, 2013)
    This project characterized dissolved organic matter (DOM) on a watershed scale such that disinfection by-product (DBP) formation in the drinking water treatment plant and distribution system can be controlled. The research developed a relationship between DOM and DBP formation using DOM fluorescence.
  • Quantifying the Benefits of Water Quality Catchment (Watershed) Management Initiatives (Water Research Foundation, 2012)
    This research presents a framework and supporting toolkit for assessing the benefits of catchment (watershed) management schemes. Specifically it develops an approach for quantifying the benefits; provides structured, step-by-step guidance on undertaking a benefit assessment; offers practical advice and guidance on assessing effectiveness and monetizing resulting benefits; indexes further guidance, resources, and tools; and discusses how the results of the benefit assessment may be used in a cost-effectiveness or cost-benefit analysis.
  • Governance for Source Water Protection in Canada: Synthesis Report (Water Policy and Governance Group, 2012)
     Examines challenges for implementing source water protection in Canada identifies and evaluates possible solutions to these challenges, and identifies future research priorities.
  • Water Challenges and Solutions in First Nations Communities (PDF, Water Policy and Governance Group, 2010)
    Identifies water issues common to the nations represented at a two-day workshop held in Kitchener, Ontario. Key themes identified include capacity, common voice, community water strategy, consultation, jurisdiction, respect and scale.
  • Drinking Water Source Protection Through Effective Use of TMDL Processes (PDF, 2.9 MB,Water Research Foundation, 2010)
    Investigates and reports on successful strategies used by drinking water utilities to protect source waters using the total maximum daily load (TMDL) regulatory process. Also describes and evaluates specific measures that have been used to include drinking water objectives in TMDLs.
  • Land Use and Drinking Water Treatment Costs (PDF, Trust for Public Land, 2008) 
    This white paper brings new data and methodologies to study the impact of the decline of forest cover and the increase of agriculture or urban land cover in a drinking water source drainage area. The report examines both the impact on water quality for this drinking water source as well as drinking water treatment costs.

Guidance and How-To Reference

Links to Related Organizations

Toolkits and BMPs

  • Drinking Water Mapping Application to Protect Source Waters (DWMAPS) (Web Application, USEPA, 2016) 
    EPA has developed an online mapping tool to help you find information about drinking water in your community. This user-friendly tool provides answers to questions like: Who supplies my drinking water? Is the source of my drinking water polluted? Are there possible sources of pollution near my drinking water that might be affecting my community's water supply? How can I get involved in protecting sources of drinking water in my community?
  • Agricultural BMP Database Portal  (Downloadable Database, NCGA, 2015)
    A database that will serve as a repository for conservation practices to reduce stormwater runoff from agricultural activities. Database has been developed by the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), the Water Environment Research Foundation and the United Soybean Board. Released Nov. 19, the database describes practices that reduce pollutant discharges from agricultural sites.
  • Source Water Protection IQ (Quiz, SWEFC, 2014) 
    The primary objective of the Source Water Protection IQ Test is for water systems to evaluate their familiarity with and status of source water protection program. On the basis of the test results, individual water system operators or source water protection coordinator can consult the AWWA Standard G300 and the associated Operational Guide to AWWA Standard G300. 
  • Opportunities to Protect Drinking Water Sources and Advance Watershed Goals Through the Clean Water Act (PDF, ASDWA and USEPA, 2014)
    The toolkit describes a more holistic and coordinated planning and funding approach among clean water and drinking water programs and other public and private partners at the federal, state and local levels, including water and wastewater utilities.
  • Capacity for Watershed Protection Investment Dashboard (UNC-EFC, 2014)
    This interactive tool has been created for water utility managers and other water resource managers to use in considering options for generating local funds for watershed protection. The tool includes a "slider" that can be manipulated to show how much revenue can be generated by raising water rates. It also includes other options such as creating a "watershed fee" through property tax bills instead of the utility bill.
  • Collaboration Toolkit: Protecting Drinking Water Sources Through Agricultural Conservation (Source Water Collaborative, 2014)
    This toolkit provides background information and simple steps to help connect source water stakeholders with USDA NRCS leadership and Conservation Districts at the state and local levels to encourage a collaborative approach to protecting and improving water quality and sources of drinking water.
  • Best Management Practices: Monitoring Guide for Stream Systems (PDF, 2.4 MB, University of Wyoming, 2011)
    This guidance document is intended to help water quality and land managers establish a water quality monitoring program that will demonstrate the effectiveness of agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) to reduce non-point source pollution from nutrients and sediment in stream systems, before the practice is implemented.
  • Best Management Practices: Monitoring Guidance Tools (University of Wyoming, 2011)
    This web page provides agencies, watershed managers and field practitioners with links to a variety of monitoring and guidance tools that are designed to help identify appropriate and effective monitoring strategies to understand and quantify the effectiveness of agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) that address water quality impairments in a watershed.
  • Ontario Drinking Water Stewardship Program Outreach and Education Toolkit (Conservation Ontario, 2010)
    This web page includes a variety of brochures and fact sheets that can be used by water utilities, communities and watershed groups to educate the public and their constituents about source water protection and other water issues.
  • Source Water Protection Cost/Benefit Tool (Water Research Foundation, 2010)
    This tool is designed to help source water professionals identify and evaluate source water protection project options using a triple bottom-line cost/benefit analysis to compare options for achieving the greatest results.

Volunteer Opportunities


AWWA has all of the resources you need to effectively protect your source water. The Exemplary Source Water Protection Award showcases utilities with outstanding programs.

Award Criteria and Entry Form

2016 Recipients

Large Water System
Central Utah Conservancy District -
Provo River Watershed Council

Metropolitan System
Regional Municipality of York, Ontario

Past Recipients


Large System
Eugene Water & Electric Board, Oregon


Large Groundwater System
City of Kalamazoo, Michigan

Very Large/Mixed System
Spokane Aquifer Joint Board, Washington


Medium System
Brandon Fire District #1, Vermont

Large System
Reading Area Water Authority, Pennsylvania

Metropolitan System
New York City Dept. of Environmental Protection, New York


Small System
City of DeSoto, Iowa

Large System
Portland Water District, Maine

Metropolitan System
City of Sacramento Dept. of Utilities, California


Small System
City of Clare, Michigan

Medium System
Crystal Falls Township, Michigan

Large System
City of Wilmington, Delaware


Small System
Remsen Municipal Utilities, Iowa

Medium System
Seelyville Water Works, Indiana

Large System
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Boston, Massachusetts


Medium System
City of Big Rapids, Michigan

Large System
Louisville Water Company, Kentucky
Metropolitan Water District of Salt Lake & Sandy District, Utah


Medium System
City of Davison, Michigan

Large System
Indiana American Water
Richmond District, Indiana


Small System
Ira Township, Fair Haven, Michigan

Medium System
Charter Township of Waterford, Michigan

Large System
Contra Costa Water District, Concord, California


Medium System
Nevada Tahoe Water Supplier Association
Incline Village, Nevada

Large System
Suffolk County Water Authority
Oakdale, New York


Small System
City of Ionia, Michigan


Small System
Village of Millford, Michigan

Medium System
City of Battle Creek, Michigan

Large System
Portland Water Bureau, Oregon


Small System
Chippewa Falls Water Utility, Wisconsin

Medium System
Regional Municipality of Waterloo
 Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

Large System
Philadelphia Water Department
 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Sustainable Water Management Conference
March 25, 2018 / Seattle, WA

ACE18 - AWWA Annual Conference & Exposition
June 11, 2018 / Las Vegas, NV

4th International Conference Water resources and wetlands
September 05, 2018 / Tulcea, Tulcea Romania

ACE19 - AWWA Annual Conference & Exposition
June 09, 2019 / Denver, CO

ACE21 - AWWA Annual Conference & Exposition
June 13, 2021 / San Diego, CA

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