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Developing a Committee

A water system or operator contemplating the development of a source water protection plan should make every effort to involve the water system users, area landowners and the community in order to generate support. Source water protection plan development without input from people possibly affected can divide a community and lead to failure of the effort. One way to make sure interested persons are included is to form a community planning team to assist in the development of the plan and invite volunteers to help.

Many communities have used a community planning team or steering committee in successfully establishing a source water protection plan to protect their source. The team coordinates the project, sets meeting times and places, advises local officials and coordinates with state and local agencies. Committee participation that represents the diversity of the community is critical. Team size will depend on the availability of volunteers but five to seven seems to be ideal. More can be cumbersome due to scheduling difficulties and fewer can result in nonproductive meetings if absenteeism occurs.

The community planning team will need to be somewhat structured by defining member roles and responsibilities. Structure will help a diverse group successfully function in a manner that accomplishes the goals within the time frames set by the group. Possible team members are county sanitarians, water and wastewater operators, elected officials, city/county health officials, fire marshals, county extension agents, city/county planners and resource conservation and development officials. Members of service organizations, senior citizen groups, youth groups and school personnel should also be considered.