The following five, action-oriented themes were created to organize and synthesize the key water watershed issues stakeholders described during the planning process.
Source Water Development and Protection
Source water includes the rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, springs, and groundwater that deliver water to public drinking water supplies and private wells. Protecting source water reduces treatment costs, protects water quality for wildlife and human uses, and helps to ensure the availability of water. Strategies to protect source water depend on the source, and include protection of riparian habitats, stream bank stabilization, land protection/easements, best management practices for agricultural and forestry activities, local ordinances to limit activities in source water or wellhead protection areas, emergency response plans, and outreach and education. Source: Environmental Protection Agency.
Reliable Water Infrastructure and Operations
Sustaining the collection and distribution systems, treatment plants, and other infrastructure that collects, treats, and delivers water requires strategies that address aging infrastructure, support a more resilient infrastructure, and advance training and professional development to ensure the availability of skilled water technicians.
Water Conservation and Efficient Use
Water conservation is the beneficial reduction in water loss, waste or use, and results in people changing behaviors and thus using less water. Water efficiency minimizes the amount of water used to accomplish a function, task, or result, and relies on well-engineering products and fixtures (Source: Water Footprint Calculator). Indoor water conservation actions may include turning off running water while brushing teeth and operating washing machines and dishwashers only when loads are full. Outdoor water conservation actions include watering lawns only when necessary, watering lawns during the cool part of the day, mulching trees, installing a rain barrel for outdoor watering, and planting a rain garden. Examples of water efficient actions include using low-flow showerheads and toilets. Due to limited water availability for new out-of-stream uses across the Mid-Coast region as well as the need to restore and protect instream values, water conservation may be one of the most cost-effective ways to meet future water needs of the region while increasing water security and resiliency for all users.
Ecosystem Protection and Enhancement
Ensuring the health of ecosystems through protection and enhancement actions helps to ensure the sustainable delivery of ecosystem services, including adequate water quality and quantity, reduced drinking water treatment and infrastructure costs, reduced flood mitigation costs, increased resilience to climate change stressors, opportunities to recover listed species and provide habitat for native fish and wildlife, and reduced risk for invasive species introductions and establishment.
Enhanced Regional Collaboration
Regional collaboration among water providers enhances the resilience of the water delivery system and helps to ensure reliable source water quality and quantity. Strategies to enhance regional collaboration may include pooling regional resources, providing technical information to landowners, and improving access to resources and funding.