Blue Accounting releases data tools showing source water risks and protections in Great Lakes Basin
Blue Accounting’s Source Water Initiative recently launched visual tools that illustrate work to protect source water in the Great Lakes Basin. The visual tools measure progress toward four goals: protecting drinking water from nutrient impacts; ensuring all public water supply systems are guided by up‐to‐date protection strategies; taking action on contaminants of emerging concern; and building binational consensus on strategies for source water protection across the Great Lakes Basin.
“Residents of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin are rightfully proud of our shared natural resource, yet we struggle to consistently track progress toward a safe and sustainable supply of drinking water,” said John Linc Stine, former commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and chair of the Great Lakes Commission (GLC), which leads the Source Water Initiative. “The visual tools released today will help us understand where we currently stand on protecting drinking water sources and how we can best protect our water in the future.”
The Initiative collects and maps key data to demonstrate the scope of threats to sources of drinking water and tracks progress on mitigation strategies. An interactive map on the “Nutrient Impacts” page shows which watersheds are designated as “nutrient impaired” and which are currently used as sources of drinking water. The “Planning” results page shows the status of source water protection planning by jurisdiction. Another map shares information on a regulation intended to detect contaminants of emerging concern. A “Binational Consistency” page displays variations between source water protection policies and implementation in each state and province.
The Source Water Initiative also posts information about Great Lakes state and provincial strategies and investments to protect source water. The Initiative partners with communities and organizations to showcase local source water protection strategies and investments supporting the Initiative’s goals.
Todd Danielson, Chief Utilities Executive for Ohio’s Avon Lake Regional Water has been with the initiative since its 2017 launch. “This work with Blue Accounting recognizes that even the best local efforts to protect source water need the help of neighboring communities,” he said. “As a system that relies on Lake Erie, we know that working together to protect our shared source of drinking water is far more powerful than working alone.”
Blue Accounting’s source water initiative includes representatives from state, provincial, and federal agencies, local governments and water suppliers, academia, nonprofits, and the private sector. The initiative is part of Blue Accounting, which translates shared data into relevant information for decision-makers to understand how their investments and actions impact the Great Lakes region. GLC and The Nature Conservancy co-lead Blue Accounting in partnership with federal, state, provincial, local and private organizations. Blue Accounting receives vital funding support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, and the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.