Source Water Protection Initiatives
More than 1.5 million people in South Central Texas and San Antonio rely on the Edwards Aquifer for their drinking water. This was the first aquifer in the U.S. to receive a sole source designation by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1975 under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1986 provide for groundwater protection, which includes the Wellhead Protection Program.
Additionally, amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1996 establish a new charter for the nation’s public water systems in protecting the safety of drinking water. The amendments include, among other things, approaches to prevention, and a source water protection assessment program. According to the Safe Drinking Water Act, “a State assessment program is required to: (1) delineate the boundaries of the areas providing source waters for public water systems and (2) identify (to the extent practicable) the origins of regulated and certain unregulated contaminants in the delineated area to determine the susceptibility of public water systems to such contaminants.”
SAWS has developed and is continuing to expand the scope of its Source Water/Wellhead Protection Program. This program received an EPA Environmental Excellence Award in 1999.
The project incorporates the study of the general geology in the San Antonio area, occurrence of groundwater, land use, inventory of historical and present potential contamination sources within the area of each public supply water well and a public education campaign. Land-use activities are monitored over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone, one of the largest areas in the San Antonio region where contaminants could enter your water supply.
The Source Water Protection Program is not static, but continuing in nature. SAWS will strive to achieve a more accurate delineation of its Wellhead Protection Areas, continue research to increase our knowledge of our water source and continue educating the public. Further, SAWS is developing a contingency plan in the event of contamination. In addition to protecting our current water source, SAWS will implement new Wellhead/Source Water Protection Programs for new water sources as they are acquired.
The Source Water & Wellhead Protection Plan is in Adobe PDF Format and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to be viewed. Use the link at the bottom of this page to get Acrobat Reader.
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