Protecting Our Nation’s Drinking Water Sources

photo of body of water amongst a forest

Project Brief

Protecting the sources of our nation’s public drinking water supplies is critical to ensuring public health. However, drinking water utilities need adequate tools, financial and technical resources, and other support to implement effective source water protection measures. To fund these investments, it’s important that utilities of all sizes be able to make a compelling case for source water protection, and to track and measure the outcomes from source water protection activities over time. The American Water Works Association contracted with ERG to develop accessible resources that guide utilities through this process.

ERG developed two complementary products—a toolkit to understand, assess, and build a case for investing in source water protection measures and programs, and a tool to develop metrics for and track the performance of implemented measures:

  • The Source Water Protection Justification Toolkit provides comprehensive information on source water protection measures and associated benefits and includes a step-by-step triple bottom line cost-benefit analysis framework utilities can use to help justify a proposed investment The toolkit also includes an example cost-benefit assessment and a PowerPoint template utilities can use to develop and present a compelling case for investing in source water protection.
  • The Source Water Protection Performance Metrics Tool includes a guide and an easy-to-use Excel tool to help water systems assess the effectiveness of their source water protection program and demonstrate the value and results of investments in source water protection. The tool also aims to standardize use by utilities of common performance criteria as an inherent part of source water protection activities. The guide and tool are scalable and accessible to utilities of all sizes and with all levels of source water protection experience and program maturity.


American Water Works Association