Home > Services & Publications > Source Water Protection

Source Water Protection

Sourcewater Protection and Assessment In North Carolina

Success Stories
  • Davidson Water, Inc. created partnerships, organized a public outreach and educational campaign, and added water quality policies to their land development plan
  • Kerr Lake Regional Water Supply developed an educational and public outreach campaign.
  • Lincoln County Water identifed and purchased land to protect their watershed.

The Process

Source Water Assessment

Section 1453 of the SDWA Amendments required that all states establish Source
Water Assessment Programs to:

  • delineate source water assessment areas,
  • inventory significant contaminants in these areas,
  • determine the susceptibility of each public water supply to contamination and
  • make this information available to the public.

In 2004, the North Carolina Public Water Supply Section(Division of Environmental Health) made available Source Water Assessment Program reports and associated information for public water drinking water systems in the state, which met those requirements.  To view these reports, click on the “Source Water Assessment Reports” button on the Public Water Supply Section website.

The Source Water Assessment Reports provide a wealth of information about public water supply sources and potential contaminant sources from 16 databases, (e.g. NPDES discharges, hazardous and solid waste sites, underground storage tanks, and animal operations) in a user friendly, ArcIMS application (click on the “NC SWAP Info” button).

Source Water Protection

Source Water Protection Plans will take the information supplied in the assessments and expand upon it by:

  • Creating partnerships among diverse groups of responsible individuals focused on the primary objective of the protection of drinking water sources, while recognizing the constraints from other ongoing activities in the watershed,
  • “Ground truthing” the data provided in the assessment reports and adding local data about other pollution sources in the delineated area,
  • Developing ways to manage potential contaminant sources to reduce or eliminate contamination in Source Water Protection Areas, and
  • Contingency planning, which is simply developing long and short-term drinking water supply replacement strategies for supplying safe drinking water to the consumer in the event of contamination or physical disruption.

Source Water Protection Guidelines

The Source Water Protection Program is meant to compliment the already established Wellhead Protection Program that has been very successful in North Carolina, and provide protection for all sources that provide water to public water supply systems, whether it be wells, springs, lakes, reservoirs, or rivers.

Benefits & Incentives – “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

  • Protection from contamination at the source is the best way to ensure a safe quality water supply, now and for the future.
  • There is a profound negative impact on communities when their water supply becomes contaminated.  Installing treatment facilities, locating new water sources or contamination remediation are costly alternatives.
  • Under the State Revolving Fund (SRF) Program and the Clean Water Revolving Fund (CWRF) Program, public water supply systems and wastewater systems with approved Source Water Protection Plans are awarded priority points toward receiving loans and grants.
  • Adoption and state approval of local Source Water Protection Plans may also make communities eligible for a low interest-long term (1%, 20 year) loan program through the NCDENR.

Links to additional information


The North Carolina Rural Water Association has two Source Water Protection Specialists on its staff in addition to its Wellhead Protection Specialists, who are available to assist water supply systems with the process of developing Source Water Protection Plans.

For questions or more informaiton contact NCRWA at:

Major Corporate Sponsors