- 12:51 PM

Mapping Multiple Interactions: Social Relations and Nutrient Loading in Source Water

Stephen Gasteyer, Human and Community Development, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 239 Bevier Hall, MC-180, 905 S. Goodwin, Urbana, IL 61801 and Ximing Cai, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2535c Hydrosystems Laboratory, MC-250, 205 N. Matthews, Urbana, IL 61801.

The protection of community water supply involves an important and delicate interaction between scientific and technical assessments, implementation of structures and techniques, and social interactions. This is especially true in source water protection in rural and agricultural areas.

Protection of source water in agricultural areas is often a matter of reducing nutrient loading in water bodies that provide raw water to be treated and distributed to residents in municipal areas. This presentation looks at social organization and relations, technical issues such as design of buffers and other structures, and scientific issues assessing the level of nutrient loading in source water protection efforts in Taylorville in Christian County, Illinois, and Decatur, Illinois. Both areas have reservoirs that supply drinking water to the municipalities and are surrounded by agricultural land. Both have suffered from high levels of soil runoff and nitrate and phosphate loading.

The presentation will discuss this relationship between scientific, engineering and social elements in attempting to convince farmers and landowners in the watersheds of these two reservoirs to implement particular best management practices (BMPs) to limit the levels of runoff and nutrient loading. The development of incentive programs, monitoring programs, physical barriers and management initiatives will all be discussed. This discussion will be grounded in the literature on water quality protection and watershed management. While both of these initiatives have achieved some success, the level nutrient loading and runoff still exceed desirable levels. The presenters will attempt to provide insights into why and the implications for other programs of this kind.