Two National Opportunities to Promote the Protection of Groundwater in September

Two national events are taking place during the month of September to help raise public awareness about the importance of protecting groundwater and practicing well water and septic stewardship for the health of the public and the environment.  The “Protect Your Groundwater Day” and “Septic Smart Week” campaigns both provide useful, educational information to share through your web sites, social media, newsletters, news releases, events, and other avenues.  As our colleagues at the National Environmental Services Center (NESC) remind us, groundwater is often out of sight and out of mind for most people.  Here are some interesting Groundwater Facts to share:

·         Groundwater makes up 99 percent of all available fresh water in the world and is connected from beneath to most surface water bodies.

·         Groundwater supplies much of the water to our country’s more than 40,000 community drinking water systems, especially in small towns and rural areas.

·         Groundwater is also the source water supply for 13 million households on private water wells in America.

·         Groundwater supplies 53.5 billion gallons of water a day for agriculture.

 

Protect Your Groundwater Day (September 9): Visit the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) web page for some helpful resources from NGWA to promote this special day.  For questions and to become a promotional partner, please contact Cliff Treyens of NGWA at ctreyens@ngwa.org or 614-898-7791.

·         NGWA’s www.wellowner.org web site includes helpful resources and practical information for private well owners about maintaining and testing wells, preventing contamination, and conserving water.

·         Water conservation basics, tips and water use calculator

·         Protect Your Groundwater Day logo

·         Promotional Partners page  lists all the Federal, state and local organizations that have said “yes” to being a 2014 PYGWD promotional partner so far (including ASDWA).

 

Septic Smart Week (September 22-26): Visit EPA’s SepticSmart web page where you will find information and resources on how to care for and properly maintain your septic system, as well as a downloadable logo and a Homeowner outreach toolkit that includes a door hanger, postcards, homeowner’s guides and brochures, and a mail insert.  For more information about septic and decentralized systems, as well as EPA’s Decentralized MOU Partnership and voluntary guidelines for state, tribal, and local officials, go to: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/septic/.  For questions, email: decentralized@epa.gov.

 

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Forest Service Extends Groundwater Directive Public Comment Period to September 3rd

On July 31st, the U.S. Forest Service announced a 30-day extension (until September 3rd) in the amount of time the public has to comment on a proposal to clarify the agency’s direction for groundwater.  The proposed directive on groundwater resource management was  published in the May 6 Federal Register.  The proposal is intended to help the Forest Service maintain and enhance water resources on national forests and grasslands.

 

The Forest Service’s further rationale for the directive is as follows:  “Currently, the Forest Service does not have a consistent approach to evaluating the potential effects to groundwater from the multiple surface uses of National Forest System (NFS) lands, or the role that groundwater plays in ecosystem function on NFS land. Nor does it have a consistent approach to responding to proposals that require Forest Service authorization when those proposals might impact groundwater resources.  The proposed directives would create a more consistent approach for the Forest Service to evaluate and monitor the effects to groundwater from actions on national forest system lands. By improving the agency’s ability to understand groundwater resources, the proposed directive would make the agency a better and more consistent partner to States, tribes and project proponents.”

New USDA Conservation Partnership Program Receives Nearly 600 Initial Proposals

On August 4, USDA issued a press release announcing that nearly 5,000 organizations partnered together to submit nearly 600 pre-proposals for the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) by the July deadline.  The RCPP offers funding for conservation projects designed by local partners (including water utilities) to improve soil health, water quality and water use efficiency, wildlife habitat, and other related natural resources on private lands.  ASDWA was pleased to learn from one state drinking water program (Iowa) that they had participated in meetings and provided state data to one of their communities that submitted a pre-proposal for the RCPP.  To view the RCPP press release, visit the USDA web site.