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Common Waters

Pinchot focus areas:

Climate & Energy
Land Prioritization Analysis with Natural Lands Trust
Drinking Water Source Model
With project support by the Common Waters Partnership and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Natural Lands Trust (NLT) has developed a Drinking Water Source Model for the Upper Delaware River Watershed. The model was created to identify the high priority areas within the Upper Delaware Watershed for protection of drinking water resources. The Drinking Water Source Model was originally developed by the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) for the Schuylkill Watershed Priority Lands Strategy and has been adapted to the Upper Delaware River Watershed.

The Drinking Water Source Model identifies areas of the Upper Delaware Watershed most important for drinking water source protection. The model identifies factors and assigns value (1-10 with 10 being the highest) for the protection of source water. PWD provided the assignment of conservation values to Natural Lands Trust for seven factors based on their importance for protecting clean surface and ground water.

The Drinking Water Source Model in the Upper Delaware Watershed combines the following factors:
  • Forested Lands – coniferous forest, deciduous forest, mixed forest, and forested wetlands
  • categories from the land cover data set (10 points).
  • Headwaters – first order streams with a 200ft buffer (5 points).
  • Reservoir Watersheds – drainage areas of all drinking water reservoirs (5 points).
  • Exceptional Water Quality – streams categorized as exceptional or high quality (5 points).
  • Trout Reproduction Waters – streams categorizes as cold-water fishery or trout (5 points).
  • Groundwater Recharge Areas – soils with high infiltration rates and low run-off potential (5 points).
  • Drinking Water Wells – community wells with a half-mile buffer (5 points).
The results of the Drinking Water Source Model will be used to target funding for the Common Waters Clean Drinking Water Fund. This program, currently under development, seeks to protect key drinking water source areas in the Upper Delaware River Watershed to maintain water quality in the river, maintain forest cover that protects river water quality, and keep water treatment costs for lower basin water users low.

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