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Source Water Protection
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Source Water Protection was founded on the concept that informed citizens, equipped with the fundamental knowledge about their drinking water source and threats to it, will be the most effective advocates for protecting this valuable resource.


What Is Source Water Protection?

The 1996 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act directed that each state develop a Source Water and Assessment Protection (SWAP) program to assess the susceptibility of public drinking water sources. 

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) provided the results of the assessments to each public water supply in 2003. These comprehensive assessments represent years of research, analysis, and investigation by state officials, trade organizations, federal, state and local agencies, and water service providers. The assessments contain information specific to each public water supply, its source waters, and areas of concern which may impact source waters.


Assessment Phase:

This is the first step to developing a Source Water Protection Plan (SWP) and Program. The TRWA Source Water Protection Specialist will put “boots to the ground” locating any potential contaminant sources (PSOC’s) that may threaten the water source(s).


Protection Phase:

This is the second step in which the TRWA Source Water Protection Specialist will write the SWP with specific information pertaining to the public water system. The SWP includes information on PSOC’s found and cost-effective Best Management Practices (BMP’s).


Program Kickoff Phase:

Each system working with the TRWA Source Water Protection Specialist will be required to develop a Steering Committee to carry the program forward. During the Kickoff Phase, the Specialist will provide in-depth training to the Steering Committee. This includes training on: hydrology, how contaminates reach water wells or surface waters, Best Management Practices and ideas for public education efforts.


Benefits of a Source Water Protection Plan and Program:

  • Protection of a valuable resource
  • Protection of public health
  •  Reduced risk of contamination
  •  Avoidance of expensive clean-up costs
  •  Coordination of land use
  •  Possible awards from TRWA or TCEQ
  •  Possible funding opportunities


Outcomes of a Source Water Protection Plan: 


Stakeholder involvement and a better educated public

  •  A map outlining the Source Water Protection Area
  •  An Inventory of potential sources of contamination and local issues of concern
  •  A contingency plan to ensure a safe water supply in the event of an emergency/unforeseen contamination
  •  Specific protection measures to address each of the PSOC’s and issues of possible threats to your source water local concern
  •  A steering committee to develop and implement the plan


Funding for Program Development:

Texas Rural Water Association receives a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help communities with Source Water Protection. Our role is to provide technical assistance in order to coordinate and facilitate the process of developing a Source Water Protection Plan and to promote communication and collaboration between communities and government agencies.


TRWA Source Water Specialist:

Our Source Water Specialist is available to provide professional on-site assistance and training to public water systems as they develop and implement a source water protection plan.


This includes:·         

  • Coordination and facilitation of the source water protection planning process
  •  Source water protection presentations to local officials and the community
  •  Education and outreach materials
  •  Facilitation of the coordination, communication and collaboration between the community and the water system
  •  Assistance in forming and training a source water protection steering committee

Systems That Completed Plans in 2018/2019:

  • Knippa Water Supply Corporation
  • City of Kermit
  • City of Hondo
  • City of Brady
  • New Ulm Water Supply Corporation
  • Brazosport Water Authority
  • Austin County Water Supply Corporation #2               

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