John Peckenham, Director, Maine Water Resources Research Institute and Assistant Director, Senator George J. Mitchell Center, presented on the metrics of source water protection as part of the American Water Works Association conference held recently in Nashville. As part of the Conferences’ technical workshops, Peckenham was part of a session titled, “Know Your Watershed – Source Water Protection Through Local Engagement discussed tools and outreach methods for protecting watersheds”.
Peckenham’s presentation focused on the tools needed to plan, implement and gauge source water protection that can account for the coupling of natural system characteristics, water utility operations, and social dynamics. Metrics are important, he notes, to analyze surface water supplies, and have been integrated to derive a symbolic representation of relative performance and capacity. Each metric has rankings that are calculated for individual utilities. The rankings are the basis of a visualization matrix that can be used as a decision support tool. This decision support tool can help water utility managers compare their performance to other water utilities to identify areas of excellence or in need of attention. The tool can inform long-term planning to improve capacity. Retrospective analysis produces a quantitative measure of progress through time. This tool is being incorporated into a model of source water protection to be used to explore and test relationships in these coupled systems. A paper on the subject is forthcoming, but if you are interested in learning more please contact John directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.