Best Management Practices: A Tool for Protection
Best Management Practices (BMPs) used by the Source Water Protection Program are tools for providing source water protection. These preventive measures provide more cost-effective solutions for maintaining water quality than implementing treatment or finding an alternative source for reliable and safe drinking water.
BMPs are applicable to both surface water and groundwater sources. Surface water is the more susceptible due to contaminants that occur from runoff. Intakes on streams or lakes may use vegetation barriers around the boundaries to prevent shoreline erosion. Another effective BMP is the use of wetlands as a natural filter for inflows to a water body from a storm sewer system. For a PWS that using a groundwater source, restricting activities near the well not only protects the well structure from damage, it also protects the aquifer’s water quality.
The above-mentioned BMPs are structural measures used to protect a drinking water source. However, BMPs may also occur in the form of public education. Raising public awareness can influence the degree of impacts on their drinking water source and its quality. Educational outreach programs provide the public with information on how to take extra precautions to prevent contaminants from reaching drinking water sources.
The BMPs for a particular PWS source are recommended by TCEQ in the Source Water Protection Report. Implementation of these BMPs is performed by the PWS, which may find resources from river authorities or groundwater districts, along with support from TCEQ. Funding specifically for BMPs is provided by the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program, which offers low-interest loans to PWSs through the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB).
For more information on BMPs and Source Water Protection, please contact the SWAP program.