Source Water Protection

The NMRWA Source Water Protection initiative has been actively involved in the protection of New Mexico’s precious water resources since 1995. The early years of these efforts were focused on wellhead protection and has since expanded to include the watershed, or source water, level beginning in 2007.

All Source Water Protection programs encourage local water and wastewater systems to participate more aggressively in the development and implementation of local and regional source water protection plans. Land-use decisions and zoning enforcement are done at the local government level. The Source Water Protection concept involves the use of NMRWA source water specialist who is well-versed in the steps necessary to design and implement a watershed protection program, but who also has the confidence and support of local government officials.

This type of initiative ensures an effective management effort that is “bottom-up,” driven by local citizens’ concerns and guided by sound data and information. When local communities take responsibility for protecting their environment and natural resources, they do it more effectively and economically than from a “top-down” regulatory approach, as concluded by the National Research Council in their report, New Strategies for America’s Watersheds:

“Watershed management has been a top-down process, but this approach has led to numerous barriers to effective citizen involvement and use of locally developed knowledge. A truly effective watershed management effort is most likely to be a bottom up process, driven largely by citizen concerns about local problems guided by sound data and information state and local governments to assume substantial rights and responsibilities for watershed management.”

Contact the office if you are interested in developing or updating a Source Water Protection Plan.


Consider the Source: A Pocket Guide to Protecting Your Drinking Water; Drinking Water Pocket Guide #3 (PDF)
This EPA Pocket Guide provides states, local governments, and consumers with resources to enhance existing source water protection programs and future drinking water protection plans with an overview of Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act based regulatory and voluntary resources, tools, management measures, and financing sources.