Securing clean drinking water is increasingly difficult in the United States. Aging infrastructure, increasing demand, extreme weather fueled by climate change, and rapidly developing landscapes are taxing capacities, driving up cost of water treatment, and posing challenges to the long-term sustainability of our water supply. The American Water Works Association (AWWA) expects the US will require over $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over the next 25 years to meet anticipated needs, if current funding does not increase. So how do we meet the infrastructure needs to secure our water, given widespread fiscal constraints?
A strong case can be made for source water protection as a flexible, cost-effective component of an integrated water resources management strategy. It is far more effective to prevent or reduce sources of contaminants at their source than it is to treat them at a public water system. Despite the strong economic argument and the many apparent benefits these strategies could provide to water resource managers and the community at large, source water protection is an underutilized and underfunded strategy.
Over the next month, the Source Water Collaborative Learning Exchange will delve into the oft-discussed topic of funding. It will provide resources and showcase a range of case examples that practitioners can use to scope source water protection funding options for their communities. Communities often have more financial options than they think.
The Learning Exchange is also excited to host two separate webinar events. The first, on November 2nd, will focus on the topic of watershed investment programs and will feature a “virtual panel” format, during which presenters will field questions from webinar participants over an extended, one and a half hour session. The second, on November 10th, will provide an overview of new Drinking Water State Revolving Fund eligibilities and feature presentations from successful funding programs from across the U.S.. Register on the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators website.
As always, if you have a compelling story or a new resource to share, or if you just want to connect with peers, reach out to the Collaborative via email or get in touch with a potential partner on the Allies directory.