In 1996 the federal government amended the Safe Drinking Water Act, establishing a mandatory program for states called the Source Water Assessment Program. California’s Drinking Water Source Assessment and Protection (DWSAP) Program was developed by the California Department of Health Services (CDHS) in response to the federal legislation. A drinking water source assessment includes a delineation of the area around a drinking water source through which contaminants might move and reach that drinking water supply. In addition, the assessment includes an inventory of activities that might lead to the release of microbiological or chemical contaminants within the delineated area. Finally, it includes a determination of the activities to which the source is most vulnerable.
Some of the goals of the DWSAP program are to:
- Protect and benefit the state’s public water systems
- Improve drinking water quality and support effective management of water resources
- Inform communities and drinking water systems of contaminants and activities that may affect their drinking water quality or their ability to develop new drinking water sources
- Encourage a proactive approach to protecting the state’s drinking water sources, and to enable protection activities by communities and drinking water systems
Who has to conduct a Source Water Assessment?
All new public water systems must conduct a source water assessment before a permit to operate can be issued. All new sources for existing public water systems must also be assessed. Forms and guidance for preparing the assessment are available at CLICK HERE.
The Drinking Water Protection Program can perform the assessment if requested and will bill the water system for an estimated 4 hours at the current hourly rate.