Drinking Water Source Protection Program (DWSP2) - July 2022 Newsletter

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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Drinking Water Source Protection Program - July Newsletter

This issue's topics:

  • DWSP2 Top 10 Myths

Drinking Water Source Protection Program Top 10 Myths

DWSP2 Top 10 Myths

We’re not sure how they got started or where they came from but this month we’d like to debunk some myths about the Drinking Water Source Protection Program (DWSP2). For those new to the program, visit our very first newsletter for a brief introduction on DWSP2.

Myth 1: "The Source Water Assessment Program (SWAP) is the same as DWSP2, so we don't need to do a source water protection plan."

Fact: SWAP and DWSP2 have different goals. SWAPs were completed over 20 years ago and focused on evaluating each drinking water source to identify possible threats from contamination. DWSP2 goes beyond assessment and focuses on long term protection for the public water supply. Communities may use their old SWAP report when creating a new DWSP2 plan, but the new DWSP2 plan will include updated maps delineating the source water and details on projects and programs that the community can implement to protect their source of drinking water. To find out more information about both programs, check out the following fact sheet: DWSP2 vs. SWAP.

Myth 2: "Our municipality doesn't have the resources to develop a DWSP2 plan on their own."

Fact: There is no need for a community to develop a plan by themselves. The state has over 20 technical assistance providers available, free of charge, to help communities across the state. The technical assistance provider will be there every step of the way to help develop the plan with the municipality.

Myth 3: "DWSP2 is a regulatory program."

Fact: DWSP2 is a completely voluntary program. The State is here to provide free technical assistance, support, and guidance to communities participating in the program. Your DWSP2 plan will be unique to your community and the needs you identify.

Myth 4: "DWSP2 is time consuming and costs money."

Fact: Developing a DWSP2 plan is free and the schedule is flexible. Your community can set their own schedule to implement a DWSP2 plan; that way other priorities can continue to be met. The DWSP2 plan development effort may only take a few hours a month due to the help of a free technical assistance provider. See Myth 6 about project funding. 

Myth 5: "Our municipality doesn't have much information on our drinking water supply so we can't do a Drinking Water Source Protection Plan."

Fact: There is no need to have all the information compiled prior to doing a DWSP2 plan. The state can provide free technical assistance to help communities gather information for the plan. Typically, the first step is for a technical assistance provider to assess what information the community has available and then help the community to fill in any gaps.  

Myth 6: "Our municipality can't afford projects to protect our source water."

Fact: The federal and state governments have millions of dollars available for you to protect your public water supply. The DWSP2 Framework lists over 20 federal and state funding sources that municipalities can apply for to aid with the implementation of their plan. Keep in mind, some grant programs give extra points for state accepted DWSP2 plans (e.g., Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) Program).  

Myth 7: "DWSP2 does not support other initiatives our municipality is working on."

Fact: We encourage communities to pair DWSP2 with other projects such as Comprehensive Plan updates and developing Natural Resources Inventories. Municipalities can utilize stakeholder groups and partnerships from other projects for DWSP2 (e.g., Conservation Advisory Councils). 

Myth 8: "We have a source water assessment map from 20 years ago, it doesn't need to be updated."

Fact: Think again! It is important to keep in mind that the information in older maps is likely out of date. For example, land use surrounding the drinking water source has probably changed (e.g., increase in development), sources used for public drinking water vary over time, and some potential contaminant sources today are likely different than they were in the past.

Myth 9: "The DWSP2 plan will just be another document that will sit on a shelf."

Fact: The state agrees that we do not want the DWSP2 plan to sit on the shelf and collect dust. The final phase of preparing the DWSP2 plan includes the community identifying a plan management team to drive progress forward. The plan management team will be responsible for implementing the activities identified during plan development, keeping the stakeholder group and community up to date on implementation progress, and updating the plan as needed. 

Myth 10: "This program is only for drinking water sources that have problems."

Fact: As the saying goes, it is better to be proactive than reactive! While your community might have an outstanding drinking water source today, measures need to be put into place to make sure it stays that way. The planning process is designed to highlight areas that need to be protected so a community knows where to focus its efforts to protect their precious resource.  

Now that we have cleared up these myths, we know your community is interested. Luckily for them, the program is currently accepting applications. Fill out our short online application now!

Share Your Thoughts

Have you begun this process? Or, do you have a program or are aware of a program relevant to source water? Send in any helpful hints or information at source.water@dec.ny.gov and we may highlight them!

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