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 Block diagram showing 2-year capture zones

The term “Source Water” is used to define drinking water in its original environment, either at the land surface or below the ground, before being treated and distributed by a water system.

The concept of Source Water Protection is that carefully managing the land which drinking water travels through leads to increased natural water quality and better protection of the resource (see diagram above). These protection efforts save the community money through less treatment and less likelihood of well replacement. Also, these efforts will decrease the likelihood of a catastrophe, such as a contaminant spill, taking away your water source.
 
The Non-Targeted Source Water Protection Program provides initial Source Water Assessments for all Community Water Supplies in Iowa and works with communities that decide to proactively protect their drinking water source, either independently or with the assistance of a contractor. The program strives to protect all public drinking water from contamination, and is divided into three different phases:

  1. The 'Phase 1' assessment. Provided at no cost to the water supply by the state, these assessments detail the water system’s active wells, source water areas, susceptibility, and known potential contaminants.
  2. The Source Water Plan. If a community decides to protect its drinking water, it is encouraged to write a Source Water Plan. These plans detail how the system will start to protect its drinking water resource.
  3. Implementation. After the plan has been submitted, a community can start to implement the items listed in the plan.

Information on each of Iowa’s 1,900 public water systems, including wells, production, protection, and history can be found via the Source Water Tracker and Source Water Mapper application links at the top right of the page.

Source Water Planning Guides

  • Source Water Protection Guidebook details the seven steps needed for source water protection in Iowa; where to go for assistance, and what information is available. Each of the steps listed in the document are vital for increased confidence that your water will be safe and plentiful for years to come. Provided in the guide are informational web links, examples, lists of potential contacts, and helpful tools to make source water planning as easy as possible.
  • Source Water Protection Workbook contains form-fillable worksheets and checklists designed to help with meeting preparation, work assigned, schedules and deliverables. Also included are informational web links, an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) resources as a tool to help with contaminant and well inventories, and contact information for members of the Source Water Advisory Group (SWAG).
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Resources includes  links to GIS vocabulary terms, GIS training materials, a listing of Iowa GIS layers, the Iowa DNR and USDA GIS libraries, a comparison of GIS software, and the Iowa State University Geospatial Technology Program.
 Non-Targeted Systems Contact
 Targeted Systems Contact
 Bob Rowden
 Rebecca Ohrtman
 (515) 281-3402
 (515) 281-0932
 robert.rowden@dnr.iowa.gov
 rebecca.ohrtman@dnr.iowa.gov


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