Source Water Inititive

As our climate changes and our built infrastructure ages, new challenges are appearing for water managers committed to keeping their ratepayers confident in the water that flows from their taps.

Working Waters’ Source Water Initiative helps cities and towns throughout the Pacific Northwest incorporate green infrastructure into their management so as to reduce pollution, decrease water treatment costs, offset the burden of infrastructure maintenance, and support community and environmental health while preparing for a changing climate.

About the Source Water Initiative

Introduction

Over 1/2 of Oregonians and 1/3 of Washingtonians rely on streams and rivers for their drinking water, and these supplies are threatened on multiple fronts. From ageing infrastructure to a warming climate, water managers – especially those in small towns – have their hands full, and then some, with few financial resources to meet the challenges. To top it off, not many towns realize that upstream restoration can be a cost-effective and key component to their larger water management strategy.

“We want to make it easy for towns and water managers to turn to nature whenever possible, instead of concrete and chemicals, in order to meet their water quality and quantity goals.”

The Working Waters Initiative partners with communities and natural resource agencies to restore watershed health as a means of securing clean water for communities while improving freshwater habitat for fish and wildlife. We strive to:

  • Build relationships between downstream communities and upstream land owners and restoration practitioners.
  • Identify, implement, and monitor restoration activities in municipal watersheds to secure high-quality water supplies for communities while benefiting wildlife and the natural environment.
  • Prove the economic sense of green infrastructure to promote its use throughout the Northwest.

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Drinking Water Providers Partnership

dwpp logos

The Drinking Water Providers Partnership is a collaboration of the Geos Institute, USDA Forest Service Region 6, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the Washington Department of Health, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 10, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management OR/WA Office, and WildEarth Guardians.

Together, we coordinate an annual, competitive grant solicitation and award program for environmental conservation and restoration projects in municipal watersheds across the Northwest.

“One of the USDA Forest Service’s primary missions is to help ensure the abundant clean water critical to individuals and industries across the U.S. through our work in sustaining national forests and grasslands. The Drinking Water Providers Partnership is an example of how we, in partnership with others, fulfill this purpose. By pairing Forest Service watershed restoration experts with drinking water providers, we can protect and restore municipal watersheds across on National Forest and other lands.”
– Jim Pena, Regional Forester

Download the DWPP flyer

The Partners share a common vision that watershed restoration is an important and effective way to provide clean, inexpensive drinking water to communities and protect native fish populations, particularly when downstream and upstream users work together.

“Starting with the highest quality source water possible is the best assurance that treated drinking water will reliably and continually meet public health standards.”
Dave Leland, former Manager of Oregon Health Authority’s Drinking Water Services

Our goals are to:

  • Restore and protect the health of watersheds which communities depend upon for drinking water while also benefiting aquatic and riparian ecosystems, including the native fish that inhabit them.
  • Support local partnerships between drinking water providers, landowners, and restoration practitioners.

We ran our first solicitation in 2015 and made our first awards in 2016. You can learn more via the following materials:

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Initiative of
Geos Institute