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Learn About Source Water 

What is Source Water?


The term "source water" refers to untreated water from surface and ground sources. It is what we use for our source of drinking water. Without a clean source of water, our survival would be severely compromised. 


Click here for an explanation of some more water terminology. 


What is source water protection? 


Simply put, source water protection means protecting your source of drinking water. This entails preventing pollution of natural water sources in Idaho. Source water protection was founded on the concept that informed citizens, equipped with fundamental knowledge about their drinking water source and the threats to it, will be the most effective advocates for protecting this valuable resource. The idea behind source water protection is that prevention is much easier, and cheaper, than treatment. 


Why is source water protection important? 


A proactive approach to protecting Idaho's drinking water is essential to maintaining clean water for our future generations. Water is constantly moving through the environment. Therefore, pollution of drinking water sources can become very widespread and affect people outside of our communities. Sometimes contamination can be so widespread that it is impossible to clean up, or incredibly expensive to do so. By protecting our water now, these negative outcomes can be avoided. We strongly encourage your system to create a Source Water Protection Plan as part of its drinking water protection efforts. 



What is a Source Water Protection Plan?


A Source Water Protection Plan (SWPP) is a management plan that your public water system can create to effectively protect its drinking water source. Once your SWPP is certified through the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), your system will be able to enjoy a variety of priceless benefits. 



What are the benefits of creating a Source Water Protection Plan? 

  • Eligibility for grant assistance 
  • Preservation of a vital resource

  • Protection of public health and safety

  • Reduced risk of contamination in your community

  • Lower utility costs and bills 

  • Coordination with local stakeholders, businesses, government entities, and large water users 

  • Community education regarding drinking water protection and conservation

What can IRWA help you with?

Our team of Source Water Specialists is available to provide professional on-site assistance and training to public water systems as they develop and implement a Source Water Protection Plan. Assistance includes:

  • Assistance in forming a planning team to create the Source Water Protection Plan

  • Coordination and facilitation of the Source Water Protection Plan once it is completed.

  • Source water protection presentations to local officials and the community.

  • Assistance with grant applications for all eligible water systems within Idaho.

  • Education and outreach materials for your system regarding drinking water protection and conservation

  • Assistance with coordination, communication and collaboration between the community, multi-jurisdictional entities, and local, county, state and federal agencies in the development and implementation of source water protection activities.

  • Public education for your residents, such as presentations at schools, local fairs, and other community events.

  • Representation for your system during all Idaho rule changes that could affect rural source water protection.

Contact Us!

Please contact us if you value a clean, high quality, drinking water supply and would like to work collaboratively with your community to develop an official Source Water Protection Plan.



Melinda Norris                                                          Adrianna Hummer