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A new guide for communicating with customers on source water protection

awwa guidance report coverIn national polls, American consistently rank drinking water quality and safety as a top environmental concern. At the same time, polls also reveal that few Americans actually know where their drinking water originates. These facts highlight how important it is for drinking water utilities to communicate regularly with their customers. Ratepayers who understand and care about their drinking water supply are more likely to support the utility’s source water protection efforts. 

Finding the right means to reach customers and deciding what to say may seem like a challenge, though. That’s why the American Water Works Association (AWWA) commissioned a report to help small- and medium-sized utilities more effectively communicate on source water protection issues in their Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs). The CCR is a unique opportunity to connect with and educate customers since every utility is required to send one to every customer each year.

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Source Water Workshops around Oregon and Washington

Towns and cities throughout Oregon and Washington provide safe, reliable supplies of clean drinking water to their residents, day in and day out. However, small and rural towns provide this amazing service with far fewer resources.

dwpp workshop wenatchee 1

Protecting drinking water at its source is the first line of defense in a multi-barrier approach to ensuring safe drinking water. But small drinking water providers do not have staff dedicated solely to source water protection. Operators are busy treating water to regulatory standards and keeping it flowing in its pipes. There’s no doubt that their job would be a lot easier if they had some help to protect and enhance water quality before it enters their treatment plant.

Fortunately, in the Pacific Northwest we have many groups that can provide the critical services needed to plan and implement source water protection activities.

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How Partnerships Make Source Water Protection Possible

WA DOH articleWorking Waters' Director Cathy Kellon was invited to write an article in the Washington Department of Health's newsletter for drinking water operators, "H2Ops."

The March 2018 issue, "Better Safe," focused on source water protection and we were happy to share our thoughts on how partnerships make source water protection possible for utilities of all sizes.

Read the full newsletter here (Kellon's piece is on page 6)

Drinking Water Partnership Announces Grant Awards Where Upstream Restoration Benefits Downstream Drinking Water

Projects in Oregon and Washington aim to benefit people and salmon and trout.

Press Release
Thursday, March 22, 2018
Contacts: Cathy Kellon, Geos Institute, 541-613-4773, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | Marlies Wierenga, WildEarth Guardians, 503-278-0669, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | Jim Capurso, U.S. Forest Service, 503-808-2847, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 On World Water Day, a day dedicated to taking action for water, the Drinking Water Providers Partnership celebrates actions that ripple up and down streams - simply by making connections.

Our survival depends on clean water, a fact that Pacific Northwesterners know very well: over 3.7 million people in Washington and 3.5 million people in Oregon get their drinking water from rivers and streams. When their sources of drinking water are polluted, these communities suffer. So do fish that depend on clean water, such as salmon and steelhead. Yet Oregon and Washington don’t have the billions of dollars needed to repair drinking water infrastructure like filtration systems, pipes, culverts, etc.

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Flood damaged creek will go back in time

Thanks to funding from the Drinking Water Providers Partnership, the Rogue River Watershed Council is about to embark upon a quarter-million-dollar effort to reconnect Little Butte Creek to its floodplain as it flows through the City of Eagle Point. In 2016, the Partnership helped to fund planning and design work to return the creek to its historic meander and reduce erosion. Little Butte Creek jumped its channel during the New Year's Day flood of 1997 and has since been eating away at City-owned property that the community hopes to turn into a park.

"The creek now cuts a tight dog-leg right and is scouring out the bank, adding extra sediment to the creek that neither wild coho salmon juveniles nor Medford water drinkers want to see."

Learn more in this article from the Medford Mail Tribune.

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