2018 Farm Bill Includes New Drinking Water Provisions in Conservation Title

Farmer_and_tractor_tilling_soilOn December 20, the President signed a $867 billion Farm Bill that includes $4 billion dollars for conservation practices that protect sources of drinking water over the next ten years. A big thank you to AWWA for helping to get these provisions included as follows:

  • An emphasis on source water protection through all Farm Bill conservation programs;
  • 10% of NRCS conservation funding directed toward source water protection, an incredible total of $4 billion over the next 10 years;
  • Authorization for water utilities to work with State technical committees in identifying priority areas in each state; and
  • Additional incentives for farmers who employ practices that benefit source waters.

ASDWA looks forward to working with our members to engage in these efforts with partners that help implement conservation practices in the most susceptible source water protection areas.

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Nominate Your Water Systems by January 15th for the AWWA Exemplary Source Water Protection Award

cup awardPlease consider nominating your water systems for the 2018 AWWA Exemplary Source Water Protection Award. Nominations are due on January 15, 2019 and winners will be announced at the 2019 AWWA Annual Conference & Exposition. This award recognizes up to three water systems every year for their outstanding source water protection programs, with consideration for their size and resources. This year’s award winners were the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority in New Mexico, the Clackamas River Providers in Oregon and the Rock County Rural Water District in Minnesota.

The AWWA Source Water Protection Committee that administers the award program is again this year strongly encouraging nomination submissions for the smallest water systems serving populations of 10,000 or fewer, using either ground water or surface water supply sources. Because many of these systems may not have the resources or ability to complete the application process themselves, the Committee is hopeful that state drinking water programs, AWWA Sections, and State Rural Water Associations will be willing to help.

While the nominations are not due until January 15th, it is helpful to get an early start on the application process. Nominations are judged on how well a water system meets the six components of AWWA’s (G300) Source Water Protection Standard: 1) program vision; 2) source water characterization; 3) source water protection goals; 4) development of an Action Plan; 5) implementation of the Action Plan; and 6) periodic evaluation and revision of the entire program. In addition to how well a source water protection program satisfies each of the six program components for the AWWA Standard, nominees will also be evaluated on the following three criteria:

  • Effectiveness of the program,
  • Innovative approaches, and
  • Difficulties overcome.

For more information about the award, including previous award recipients, eligibility and submission criteria, and the entry form, go to:  www.awwa.org/eswpa.

New England EFC Source Water Protection Webinar Next Week

NEEFC-logo-sq.jpgOn Thursday, October 25th from 2:00 – 3:00 pm (eastern), the New England Environmental Finance Center (EFC) is hosting a webinar entitled “Working Together to Protect Your Drinking Water Source. During the webinar, participants will hear about a model for collaboration that the EFC has been developing based on lessons learned from water utilities working with land conservation groups to protect source waters. Then, a panel of experts from the Portland Water District will share their stories about the benefits of collaboration as well as how they overcame some challenges along the way. Register for the webinar here.

 

EWG Releases New Report on Nitrate Impacts

via EWG Releases New Report on Nitrate Impacts

Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program Webinars – Today and October 25th

431_HWC_logo2October 2nd Webinar on Oregon Project: Today, from 2:00 – 3:00 pm (eastern), the Healthy Watershed Consortium (HWC) Grant Program will host a webinar with The Freshwater Trust to discuss the results of their project in the John Day Basin of Oregon. The webinar is entitled, “Investing in Sustainable Agriculture for Watershed Protection,” and will share information about their efforts to build a scalable framework to target, acquire and sustainably manage agricultural lands using resources from private investors. Register for the webinar here.

October 25th Webinar on Request for Proposals: This informational webinar on the 2019 HWC Request for Proposals is scheduled for Thursday, October 25th from 2:00 – 3:15 pm (eastern). Up to $1.2 million is available for grants and proposals are due by February 4, 2019. The webinar will be recorded and posted to view at your convenience on the HWC website. Register for the webinar here.

EFCN Webinar on Working Together to Protect Your Drinking Water Source 

smart mgmt small systems logoOn Thursday, October 25, 2018, from 2:00 – 3:00 pm (eastern), the Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCN) will host a webinar entitled, “Working Together to Protect Your Drinking Water Source.” The webinar is part of the Smart Management for Small Water Systems program that includes a variety of partners. During the webinar, panelists will share both the successes and lessons learned from getting outside their comfort zones and forging new collaborations between water utilities, land conservation agencies and land trusts, and municipalities and counties to protect drinking water sources facing development pressure. Register for the webinar here.

September 2018 Events to Promote Groundwater Protection

Protect your GW DayProtect Your Groundwater Day is September 4. This day provides a great opportunity to promote public health and environmental protection by getting involved and celebrating. State drinking water programs should consider sharing information about “Protect Your Groundwater Day” with your water utilities and citizens to create greater awareness about protecting this valuable resource. The National Ground Water Association has put together some free marketing materials to help you promote the event including social media messaging and tips for #PYGWD, a press release template, and logos, posters and graphics at WellOwner.org.

septicsmart_week_2018_save_date_010318SepticSmart Week is September 17-21. Each year, SepticSmart Week is held with outreach activities to encourage homeowners and communities to care for and maintain their septic systems. This year, SepticSmart Week will be held from September 17-21. State drinking water programs and communities will want to use this opportunity to promote homeowner education and awareness and educate local decision makers about infrastructure options available to improve and sustain communities. Visit EPA’s website to download SepticSmart materials and a proclamation template, read about suggested events and activities, view highlights and case studies of community efforts across the nation, and join in the conversation on social media at #SepticSmartWeek.

 

 

SWC Webinar with TPL on Decision Support Tools for Source Water Protection

swc_logoOn Wednesday, September 12, 2018 from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm (eastern), the Source Water Collaborative (SWC) will host a free webinar with The Trust for Public Land (TPL) entitled, “Multi-Purpose Decision Support Systems for Source Water Protection Strategies.” The purpose of this webinar is to demonstrate the use of decision support tools and multi-purpose landscape analysis systems that can strengthen the ability of water suppliers to develop land protection strategies that address threats to drinking water sources. During the webinar, Fred Gifford will demonstrate various GIS-based tools that TPL has developed, explain their data layers, and describe specific applications of this information. State, interstate, tribal, and federal water programs, municipalities, water utilities, land use advocates, and technical assistance providers are encouraged to participate, along with anyone else who would like to attend. For more information and to register, GO HERE.

RFP Now Open for Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program

RFP Now Open for Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant ProgramThe 2019 Request for Proposals (RFP) is now open for the Healthy Watersheds Consortium (HWC) Grant Program. The HWC is a partnership between the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, EPA, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Up to $1.2 million is available for projects that accelerate strategic protection of healthy, freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds (including drinking water watersheds) across the nation. The primary focus for proposals should be on the protection and stewardship of land in the watershed, rather than just water quality improvements. The due date for proposals is February 4, 2019. For more information, view the Request for Proposals for eligibility criteria; visit the HWC Grant Program website; and register for the informational webinar session on Wednesday, October 24, at 2:00 pm (eastern).

Stay Tuned for New USDA NWQI Drinking Water Protection Pilot Opportunity

nrcs_logo_largerASDWA has learned that the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and EPA are making a change to the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) this year (for FY 2019) that includes a new pilot program specifically aimed at protecting drinking water supplies, including groundwater. The NWQI was launched in 2012 to reduce nonpoint sources of nutrients, sediment, and pathogens related to agriculture in small high-priority watersheds in each state. NWQI provides a way to accelerate voluntary, on-farm conservation investments and focused water quality monitoring and assessment resources where they can deliver the greatest benefits for clean water.  NRCS recently announced that it is updating and expanding NWQI for FY 2019 and has committed to funding the NWQI through 2023. While many of the fundamental components of the NWQI will remain in place for FY19, there are some notable changes in the FY19 NWQI bulletin and thinking ahead for NWQI in FY20.  In addition to continuing the current NWQI focus on addressing water bodies impaired under the Clean Water Act, NWQI will now include a component to protect surface and groundwater sources of drinking water.

This is a great new opportunity for state drinking water and source water protection programs that will be coordinated with NRCS State Conservationists to collaborate on proposing SWP areas and specific projects for the pilot. NRCS and EPA’s source water protection staff in cooperation with ACWA and ASDWA are working to develop guidance and resources for NRCS staff and state drinking water agencies to get the pilot underway.  An informational webinar is being planned and a date will be announced in the coming week.  Stay tuned for more information that will be coming soon!