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Understanding Source Water and Why it Needs Protection

Defining Source Water

Source water refers to surface water (streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs) or groundwater (aquifers) that supplies water to a public water system for drinking or other domestic purposes.

Why Protect Source Water

Drinking water sources are vulnerable to contamination. Once contaminated, source water can be very difficult and costly to clean up. Potential contaminants can come from a variety of sources including, industry, residential, transportation, agriculture, and even landfills. Source water protection efforts can help prevent avoidable contamination and ensure a safe drinking water supply now and into the future.

Source Water Protection Actions

One of the most effective ways to maintain the quality of drinking water is by protecting the source for generations to come. Protecting drinking water sources requires proactive strategies and preventative measures to reduce the risk of contamination, such as:

  • Land conservation and protection
  • Monitoring potential contaminant sources
  • Education and outreach

How Source Water Protection Can Benefit Your Community

Source water protection helps preserve the quality and quantity of your community's public drinking water.

Communities that implement drinking water source protection actions are:

  • Promoting public health and safety
  • Supporting economic viability
  • Enhancing environmental protection and recreational opportunities
  • Strengthening community partnerships and collaboration

Source water protection methods can also enhance programs or initiatives already underway in your community.

New York State's Drinking Water Source Protection Program

New York State's Drinking Water Source Protection Program (DWSP2) is a locally led, state-supported program that empowers municipalities to take action to improve and protect their public water sources and surrounding environment. DWSP2 is voluntary and offers free technical assistance to develop and implement community specific drinking water source protection plans.

If you are interested to learn more about what you can do as a member of the public to protect your source of drinking water, read our newsletters on the topic:

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    Albany, NY 12233-3500
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