Source Water Protection Collaborative




2019 - present


A Minnesota-based statewide initiative, the Source Water Protection Collaborative brings together individuals who have expertise in source water, community outreach, engagement, or public health to develop ways to promote land use which protects drinking water sources.

The Source Water Protection Collaborative began in 2019 when Environmental Initiative, the Minnesota Department of Health, and Citizens League explored needs and opportunities for land use and land use decisions that protect drinking water supplies. Explore the project development in Phase I.

Vision and Purpose

Vision: We make choices on the land that ensure clean, safe drinking water for all.

Purpose: Bringing together diverse groups and perspectives to advance collective action for protecting drinking water.

Mississippi River St. Cloud

What we do

  • Share knowledge between communities with similar efforts and concerns.
  • Leverage and learn from projects and policy planning efforts about ways drinking water protection is impacted throughout the state.
  • Build capacity of local and state government officials responsible for providing drinking water to engage with those who have been marginalized from government decision-making, including farmers, rural residents, immigrant and BIPOC communities, and small business owners.
  • Support local community partnerships and trust-building efforts, focusing on those who have been marginalized, in order to build a stronger civic fabric and greater collective capacity for securing safe drinking water for all.

Art and water repository

The Source Water Protection Collaborative recently hired an artist-in-residence, Su Legatt, to engage members of a rural Minnesota community around protecting drinking water.

This artist-in-residence program is just one resource at the intersection of civic engagement and water. You can find more resources, including materials that may be useful for developing a new program, in our art and water repository.

Creative engagement recap

Watch our creative engagement project video to learn more about our artist-in-residence, the city of Little Falls, and how Creating With & For Water came to be.

Project Contacts

If you are interested in learning more about the collaborative’s work which includes a clearinghouse for water resources and public art projects, contact us.

Recent stories

Introducing Su Legatt, artist-in-residence

The Source Water Protection Collaborative is a Minnesota-based partnership dedicated to promoting land usage that safeguards drinking water sources. Artist, educator, and community organizer Su Legatt was recently commissioned by Environmental Initiative and the Source Water Protection Collaborative to creatively…

From tap to tapestry: Using art and creativity to protect drinking water

Two artist educators, Sharon and Shirley Nordrum, have been commissioned to creatively engage residents in Little Falls, Minnesota on issues of drinking water and environmental health. The year-long project is initiated by the Source Water Protection Collaborative, a partnership between government agencies, nonprofits, researchers, farmers, and public health experts convened by the nonprofit, Environmental Initiative. 

Source water protection and working collaboratively, explained

To protect source water, lasting behavior changes in land and water management practices are needed. Environmental Initiative is convening a statewide network of individuals with experience in source water protection, community outreach, engagement, agriculture, and public health to develop ways to promote land use that protects drinking water.

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Collaborative Members

  • Sarah Berry, Local Public Health Association and Waseca County Public Health
  • William Cole, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  • Mae Davenport, University of Minnesota
  • Annie Felix-Gerth, Board of Water and Soil Resources
  • Tim Gieseke, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
  • Larry Gunderson, Minnesota Department of Agriculture (alternate)
  • Stephanie Hatzenbihler, Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Alex Keilty, Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance
  • Amanda Lovelee, Metropolitan Council
  • Aaron Meyer, Minnesota Rural Water Association
  • Alycia Overbo, Minnesota Department of Health
  • Jen Schaust, Minnesota Department of Agriculture
  • Dave Schulenberg, Minnesota Water Well Association
  • Trygve Throntveit, Minnesota Humanities Center
  • Bruce Tiffany, farmer
  • Lisa Vollbrecht, American Water Works Association and Saint Cloud Public Utilities Department (alternate)
  • Ed Zabinski, Itasca Waters
  • Molly Zins, Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership

Our Partners