Smart Growth America became an official member of the national Source Water Collaborative on Monday during a celebration of the Collaborative’s seventh anniversary. SGA CEO Geoff Anderson joined National Association of Conservation Districts’ CEO John Larsen to become the 24th and 25th members of the Collaborative, which also includes national associations of water agencies and water utilities, federal agencies, and non-profit groups such as the Trust for Public Land and the River Network.
In his remarks, Anderson referred to the similarities between the national Smart Growth Network and the Collaborative. “The Source Water Collaborative creates an opportunity for us to work with critical partners to help local governments save money and protect resources for the long haul. Smart growth works at the federal, state and local level to help communities get out in front of environmental problems – whether from air and water pollution, flooding, or destruction of habitat and working lands.”
The impacts of land use on drinking water sources is one of the primary interests for the Collaborative, which convenes its members to share information and develop new resources for states, local governments, and watershed groups to use voluntarily. Steve Via, the Regulatory Affairs Manager at the American Waterworks Association, noted that land use was a crucial issue in source water protection, but that “it can’t be regulated at the federal level.” The Collaborative helps to fill the gap by promoting partnerships and best practices for state and local problem solving.
Since 2008, Smart Growth America has been part of the team administering the “Enabling Source Water Protection” pilot program, which helps states identify strategies to align clean water, drinking water and land use policies.