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Source Water Protection Award 2014
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City Water Light and Power wins inaugural Source Water Protection Award at WATERCON 2014

The Illinois Section of the American Water Works Association (ISAWWA) presented City Water, Light and Power (CWLP) with a Source Water Protection Award at its annual WATERCON Conference held last week in Springfield in conjunction with the Illinois Water Environment Association.
CWLP won top honors in the Source Water Protection-Large System Category for developing and implementing exemplary source water protection programs for Lake Springfield.

Lake Springfield, a 4,200 acre reservoir, is the largest municipally owned lake in Illinois.  The lake’s primary purposes are to serve as the source of drinking water for the City and several nearby communities and as the source of condenser cooling water for the City’s lakeshore power plant complex.  The lake is owned and managed by CWLP.  Lake Springfield was built in 1935 by impounding water upstream of Spaulding Dam.  In general, the raw water quality of the lake is typical of many mid-western reservoirs.

In its submittal, CWLP outlined the City of Springfield's Land Use Plan which preserves and enhances the lake's reservoir.  Since the time of the lake’s formation the City has taken several precautions to preserve and enhance the reservoir. The City retained ownership of all marginal lands to control access and reduce erosion. The City has worked with several federal, state and local agencies and non-governmental partners to improve the water quality of the Lake Springfield Watershed (LSW).  These on-going best management practices on both agricultural and urban lands have resulted in a lake with a relatively low capacity loss rate, good water quality, and fine recreational opportunities.

An alliance formed between CWLP and the Sangamon County Soil and Water Conservation District SCSWCD) led to the formation of the Lake Springfield Watershed Resource Planning Committee and in 1990 the first watershed resource plan was written.  The committee currently consists of sixty members that include CWLP, SCSWCD, NRCS, IEPA, farmers, fertilizer/chemical dealers, members from the Springfield Lake Shore Improvement Association, college instructors and students.  A Partnership was recently formed with SCSWCD, Lincoln Land Community College, Illinois Council on Best Management Practices (ICBMP), local agriculture retailers and producers that farm within the LSW to reduce nitrate-N concentration in Lake Springfield.  ICBMP is launching a 3 year special nitrogen management program and study to identify nitrate-N levels in the watershed and to encourage agricultural retailers and farmers to adopt a nitrogen management system in the watershed to minimize environmental impact, optimize harvest yield and maximize input utilization. 

The CWLP source water protection plan contains vision, goals and an action plan.  The plan clearly describes the LSW characterization and implementation of various Best Management Practices within the watershed.  Evaluation and revision of the plan is major to the many successes CWLP has attained within such a large watershed.

In picture:
Water Division Manager Ted Meckes and Michelle Nicol, Certified Lake Manager in the Water Resources Department, were instrumental in assembling the information that led to CWLP's First Place finish in the ISAWWA's 2014 Source Water Protection Award competition.

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