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Energy and Environment Cabinet

Division of Water

Division of Water
Water Supply Protection

Public Water Suppliers (PWS) in Kentucky utilize groundwater, spring and surface water resources to produce safe, reliable drinking water.  Water Supply Protection programs have been developed to ensure that these sources are protected.  The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) provides the guidance and framework for these programs.  Kentucky’s programs are administered through the Wellhead Protection Program and Source Water Assessment and Protection Program, respectively.  These programs require water suppliers to delineate the areas contributing to their water sources, determine their susceptibility to contamination, develop strategies to manage potential contaminants and plan for future use. Effective communication and community involvement are essential for source water planning to be successful.

Click Here To check out our Story Map to learn more about how Kentucky's Source Water Protection programs are supporting public drinking water supplies in the Commonwealth.

Wellhead Protection Program (WHPP)

The 1986 amendments to the SDWA required states to develop a wellhead protection program to protect public water supplies using groundwater as their water source. Kentucky's Wellhead Protection Program (WHPP) is designed to assist those communities relying on groundwater as their drinking water source.  For assistance or additional information about the WHPP, please contact Rob Blair ( 502-782-6893, Laura Norris ( 502-782-7029, or Allan Shingleton ( 502-782-6907.

 WHPP Electronic Forms for Water Systems

Phase I
Phase II
5-Year Update Form

Source Water Assessment and Protection Program (SWAPP)

The 1996 amendments to the SDWA outline a comprehensive plan to protect surface water sources used for public drinking water supplies. Kentucky used this guidance to develop the Source Water Assessment and Protection Program (SWAPP) to assist communities relying on surface waters as their drinking water source.  Every public water supplier in Kentucky that uses surface water as a source has completed a SWAPP plan.  DOW works directly with the water systems and Area Development Districts to address necessary plan updates and implementation of management strategies.  For assistance or additional information please contact Rob Blair ( 502-782-6893.

Source Water Protection Assistance Program (SWPAP)

Need assistance for source water protection activities? SWPAP is designed to provide communities with funding to develop and implement short-term projects to protect public drinking water sources. Funding is available to public water systems (PWSs) or the entities they serve (e.g. towns, cities, counties, schools), and cannot exceed $60,000 per project.


 Kentucky’s Water Supply Protection Areas Online

Online Source

​Developed through the cooperative efforts of water and wastewater treatment systems and local, regional, and state agencies. The WRIS includes the Geographic Information System (GIS), as well as information on water resources, drinking water systems, wastewater treatment systems, project development, emergency response, regulations, and planning.

​Explore your Watershed! The Kentucky Watershed Viewer offers a wide variety of information regarding the Commonwealth's Watersheds. Accessing this interactive map can help determine the source of your drinking water and find water supply protection areas.

​The KyGeoNet is the Geospatial Data Clearinghouse for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. A variety of datasets can be located and downloaded, static map products can be viewed, and many web mapping applications and services are easily accessible. Water Supply Protection Area GIS data can be downloaded from this site.

Select the KyGeoPortal and enter one of the names below into the Find Geospatial Data search:
  • DOW Wellhead Protection (groundwater systems)
  • DOW SWAPP (surface water systems)


Water Supply Protection Signage

Standard design water supply protection area signs are available for distribution along major state
roadways that intersect Source Water or Wellhead Protection Area boundaries. To request information on water supply protection area signs, please contact the wellhead staff.

Water Supply Protection Signage

Helpful LInks
The following links provide information on best management practices, low-impact development, and other ways to reduce the amount of non-point source pollution generated within a wellhead protection area:

There are many options available for reaching the public through the Division of Water and other agencies. The Project WET program offers lesson plans for water education for ages 5-18. National FFA Organization has developed Source Water Protection Lessons Drinking Water: Protecting the Source for grades 9-12.

Regulatory Enforcement
Groundwater Protection Plans are required under 401 KAR 5:037 for any activity that has the potential to pollute groundwater. For more information on which activities the plans are required for and how to develop plans, please visit the Groundwater Protection Plans website.
Additional Information
Please contact the Wellhead Staff, by email at​ or by phone at 502-782-7029, for additional information about any of the above topics or the Wellhead Protection Program.


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