Protecting the drinking water source is integral part of ensuring public health protection, but it is often difficult to achieve because it is not considered part of the overall operation and management of the water system or because it is a voluntary program. It is important to fully consider the potential threats to the source water both now and into the future because the cost of preventing contamination is far less than the cost (both initial and on-going) of treating the source once it is contaminated. Furthermore, there are non-monetary and co-benefits to source water protection. Because asset management provides the best framework to manage “gray” infrastructure (pipes, pumps, tanks, wells, hydrants, etc.), it also provides the best framework for addressing source water protection. Blending source water protection into asset management will give utilities the opportunity to view green and gray projects on equal footing and within the overall context of the water system.

Presenter: Heather Himmelberger, Director, Southwest Environmental Finance Center