Drinking Water Source Protection Program (DWSP2) - Monthly Newsletter

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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Drinking Water Source Protection Program (DWSP2) - January Newsletter

This issue's topics: 

  • Introduction to Phase 1 of the Framework for Creating a DWSP2 Plan
    • 1.1 Form a Stakeholder Group
    • 1.2 Establish Goals and Formulate a Vision

Over the course of the next few newsletters, we will be taking a deeper dive into “A Framework for Creating a Drinking Water Source Protection Program Plan” as introduced in our previous issue. This will provide you with a synopsis of each of the four phases and eight key components of a protection plan. In this issue, we will start at the beginning with Phase 1 of the DWSP2 Framework: Stakeholder Group. 

Framework Components

1.1 Form a Stakeholder Group

Where do we start?

“A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step”

Congratulations, you have taken the first step in deciding to develop a DWSP2 Plan to protect your drinking water source. While the Framework is meant to guide you through developing a plan, one of the most important parts is to assemble a group of knowledgeable and engaged members from the community that will ensure the plan suits the community and its needs. These people will be the plan’s stakeholder group and are the key to establishing, guiding, and implementing your community’s DWSP2 plan.

Who should be involved in my Stakeholder Group?

Look for those members in your community that represent important local interests and bring with them experience and knowledge that will contribute to a successful plan. Seek these people out and ask them to be involved in your stakeholder group. The Framework includes a list of possible stakeholders and a description of how they could benefit your plan. This list is not all-encompassing, and you may know of a group that is not listed but would be a good fit for your program. Invite them to participate as well! Another key thing is to make sure your stakeholder group is well balanced between the four basic categories listed in the Framework:

  • City, Town, and Village Government
  • County Government 
  • Community
  • Business

A screenshot from the first category in the Framework is included below:

Potential stakeholder group members and descriptions

Another idea is to utilize an existing stakeholder group. Your community may already be working on a project and have stakeholders you think would be a great fit for the DWSP2 Plan. Using an existing stakeholder group has a number of advantages such as:

  • The group is already acquainted and accustomed to working together to achieve a common goal.
  • It will save the community the time it would take to identify, invite, and hear back from potential stakeholders.
  • The community can jump into plan development sooner.

How else can I initiate partnerships for my Stakeholder Group?

A starting point could be to reach out to your elected officials such as the Mayor to guide or participate in the selection of the stakeholder group. In addition to working with elected officials, the following list includes possible ways to connect with stakeholders:

  • Research local citizen science groups.
  • Contact source water-related groups via social media.
  • Utilize meeting notes of public meetings to identify motivated people.
  • Contact the NYS DWSP2 team at source.water@dec.ny.gov.

The Source Water Collaborative is a publicly available toolkit you could use as you begin to reach out to potential stakeholders. The Collaborative is comprised of federal, state, and local partners whose focus is to further the goals of protecting sources of drinking water. It includes various tools and resources that could aid you as you go through the Framework. One such resource is the Collaboration Toolkit. This toolkit is meant to help others initiate or enhance partnerships to protect drinking water sources.

Source Water Collaborative Toolkit

A screenshot showing a few resources that can be found in Source Water Collaborative’s Collaboration Toolkit

How to Engage My Stakeholder Group?

Now that you have identified your stakeholder group, it is important to keep them engaged throughout plan development and implementation. One idea to get stakeholders together is to start with a common goal everyone might share. For example, are they interested in protecting or preserving water quality? Maybe they would like to prevent increased treatment costs or learn what area is important for source water protection efforts. The stakeholders may share one or all of these goals which could bring the group together for your DWSP2 Plan.

Several resources can be used from the Source Water Collaborative or NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management to keep the group engaged such as:


1.2 Establish Goals and Formulate a Vision

Now that you have established a stakeholder group, you can focus on establishing goals for the plan and formulating a vision.

What should be the plan goal(s) and vision?

The plan’s goals will guide actions that the community will take to protect their source of drinking water. They should be an indication of what the group hopes to accomplish with the plan. A good place to start would be to think about how to address existing priority issues related to the source water. Creating the plan’s goal is an opportunity to include actions that are forward-thinking.

As you are discussing goals, you may begin to see a “call to action.” This could be used as the vision for your plan to guide its development and implementation of the protection plan. The Collaboration Toolkit includes items you may want to consider when developing your vision statement.

What kind of examples could I look to?

The Framework provides examples of goals and visions to get a community started. Or, in case you or the stakeholder group is stuck, we have a few examples below that may help you with community-specific goals and a vision.


  1. Identify sources of potential groundwater contamination and protect groundwater from the threat of contamination as a result of accidents or unwise practices from nearby residential, industrial, commercial, agricultural, waste management, or transportation activities.
  2. Educate the public, commercial, agricultural, and transportation stakeholders about the importance of the source water protection area, source water, and ways to prohibit or reduce the likelihood of source water contamination.
  3. Promote intergovernmental cooperation to assure the protection of water resources within the source water protection area and seek assistance in controlling land-use activities.


  1. To serve as a cooperative and voluntary partnership working towards the goal of improved source water protection of the Potomac River in recognition of the vital role of the river in supplying drinking water to millions of people within the Potomac watershed and in support of the multi-barrier approach to safeguarding the drinking water supply for public health.
  2. The Town is dedicated to the preservation and protection of water quality and quantity. In order to prevent source water pollution, the Town has developed a Drinking Water Source Protection Program to protect drinking water in identified protection areas through cooperative management strategies with neighboring municipalities, outreach to agricultural, commercial, and transportation stakeholders, and public education.
  3. To provide a safe and reliable supply of potable water to our customers and to ensure that the Town water supply meets or exceeds water quality standards as defined by the Safe Drinking Water Act and the New York State Department of Health.

During our next edition we will be jumping into Phase 2: Drinking Water Source Assessment. This will introduce the technical aspects of developing a drinking water source protection program plan.

Share Your Thoughts

Have you begun this process? Send in any helpful hints or lessons learned at source.water@dec.ny.gov and we may highlight them!

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