April 22nd, 2021
MUB launches drinking water protection program
The Morgantown Utility Board (MUB) is proud to announce the creation of a new drinking water protection program as a part of its ongoing Source Water Protection Program. The voluntary Watershed Protection Program is dedicated to conserving land for drinking water protection. The program will focus initially on protecting land around Cobun Creek, the secondary water supply for more than 100,000 people in Monongalia County.
Although the model has been successfully implemented in other states, this is the first program of its kind in West Virginia. Partnering with the West Virginia Land Trust and Downstream Strategies, MUB received a grant from the Healthy Watersheds Consortium to develop this groundbreaking source water protection effort.
According to MUB General Manager Mike McNulty, protecting land around drinking water sources is one of the most effective ways to protect water quality.
“As the Morgantown area continues to grow, the need to protect our drinking water sources– the Monongahela River and Cobun Creek specifically –is more important than ever. This is why we’re so excited about our new Watershed Protection Program. It not only serves our immediate goals of providing safe, clean water but will protect area raw water resources for generations to come,” McNulty said.
Downstream Strategies principal member Evan Hansen agrees.
“Forests, wetlands, and open fields absorb rain and runoff and help trap sediment and pollutants before they enter streams and rivers. Cobun Creek is a relatively small watershed that is still largely forested and undeveloped,” Hansen said. “As a result, we have a unique opportunity to protect its headwaters while they are still relatively intact. This program will provide long-term water quality protections in the Cobun Creek watershed.”
The Water Protection Program is a strictly voluntary initiative. MUB will collaborate with willing Cobun Creek landowners to establish conservation easements, voluntary agreements with landowners that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. Coupled with voluntary incentives, such as helping landowners plant trees in riparian areas, the program will minimize harmful development in key source water areas.
The MUB Watershed Protection Program is financed through donations from the public, which may be made through voluntary bill round-ups on MUB water bills. MUB will also donate proceeds from its water and sewer line protection service to the fund. More information on how to contribute to this effort is available at: protectmonsourcewater.org.