Water for Our Cities: A Collaborative Approach


Now Available from APA Learn


This course is now offered on the APA Learn educational platform.

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Certification Maintenance


CM | 1.25

You'll learn about:

  • The intricacies of the Clean Water Act, Surface Water Treatment Rule, and Safe Drinking Water Act as they apply to providing public water to municipalities in the United States.

  • The watershed approach to planning and how it is applied in three cities that have secured a filtration avoidance determination from USEPA.  

  • Ways to collaborate between cities on issues of mutual importance.

Watersheds are an ever-growing focus of national and international attention. Everyone lives in a watershed and depends on this distinct land feature for potable water resources—whether it is a ground or surface source, proximate or distant from the served population. Land use, management practices, geology, and climate within watersheds directly determine the quantity and quality of water “produced” in these land areas.

The water issues faced by communities—whether cities, suburbs, or rural areas—have many similarities, including contaminants in drinking water, flooding, preparing for climate change, invasive species, land-use change, and regulation. Three of America’s unfiltered water supplies (through EPA waiver)—New York, Seattle, and San Francisco—depend on watersheds but are vastly different in many ways. Yet these three cities also have much in common as well as a tradition of supporting each other and learning together in the field of watershed planning. 

Learn about these three water supplies, including continuing and emerging issues of concern. Explore the power of the watershed approach. And examine the synergy achieved by collaboration within watersheds, as exemplified by the cities of New York, Seattle, and San Francisco.