Feb. 6, 2023

Northern Water Begins New Source Water Protection Program

Northern Water is embarking on a new source water protection program to safeguard the high-quality water that comes from the watersheds that supply water to the Colorado-Big Thompson (C-BT) and Windy Gap projects, as well as the Northern Integrated Supply Project, and to reduce the risk of contamination of our water sources. Our source water program includes an initial planning phase, and we have begun the process of developing a strategic source water protection plan (SWPP) to help guide our efforts. 

By developing a SWPP, we will be part of a state and nationwide effort to protect water sources from the ground up. At the state level, Colorado’s Source Water Assessment and Protection (SWAP) Program is a voluntary program designed to help public water systems take preventative measures to keep their sources of drinking water free from potential contaminants. The SWAP program came about due to the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act amendments.  

graphic explaining Source Water Protection Plan program

The typical development of a SWPP involves identifying a source water protection area(s), creating an inventory of potential contaminants to the water sources, and subsequently developing best management practices to help mitigate those potential contaminants. We anticipate that the SWPP development and process will span a few years and are currently kicking off the first phase with outreach to key constituents. Following the completion of our SWPP, we will move into the implementation phase which will involve execution of the BMPs identified in our SWPP. 

We will be communicating with various stakeholders throughout the process and providing periodic updates of the plan throughout various channels. Once the SWPP is finalized, it will be made available to the public via our website.  

If you have any questions or comments about this process, please contact Kimberly Mihelich, Source Water Protection Specialist by emailing kmihelich@northernwater.org or calling 970-622-2211.