Step 1: Form a Steering Committee
Creating an involved and engaged Steering Committee is an essential part of every Source Water Protection Plan.
Communities with successful protection programs form a Source Water Protection Team to help develop and implement the protection plan. By forming a Source Water Protection Team, which is often referred as the Drinking Water Stewardship Team or simply "Steering Committee," you will be able to share the work, gain community buy-in and participation and leverage the skills and knowledge of key stakeholders to further protect and improve your drinking water sources.
A Steering Committee and Public Participation are amongst PA DEP's six Minimum Elements required to receive DEP approval of the SWP Plan. The Steering Committee acts as an Advisory Group for the water system, making suggestions for the protection plan and providing different perspectives to guide improvements as the Plan evolves. The group provides local knowledge and acts as a key conduit to convey source water protection information back to the community and its constituents.
At a logistical level, the Team coordinates the Source Water Protection project, sets meeting times and places, advises local officials and coordinates implementation of the SWP Plan with state and local agencies. At the strategic level, the Steering Committee is an important vehicle for building trust and motivating local action. Participation by community members who represent large water users is critical.
Forming a Steering Committee Helps:
- Build community involvement. Getting the community to buy into source water protection through participation is crucial if your protection plan is to succeed.
- Provide a results- oriented common voice around shared clean water goals.
- Provide additional resources to make the job go faster and smoother. The most frequently overlooked resources of a community are the energy, enthusiasm, and knowledge of its citizens.
- Educate property owners about how their actions impact drinking water quality.
- Improve the health of your drinking water sources.
- Influence development and property values in a positive way.
- Conduct ongoing community education with key sectors such as homeowners, schools, businesses & industry, agricultural producers, houses of worship, emergency responders, transportation.
THINK: Who are some key groups in your community that should be on your Steering Committee?