Watershed Protection

Watershed Protection Photo

One of the main priorities of the AWA is to provide a clean, safe and reliable water supply.  The first step, often the most important, is to preserve and protect the watershed from which the water supplies originate.   The following are some of the approaches the AWA incorporated into its watershed management program.


A healthy forest is the most effective way to ensure that water flowing from the watershed is of good quality.  The AWA watersheds are 96% forested.  When the timber is harvested from these watersheds, only relative small tracts are selectively cut.  This forestry management approach has proven to be the best way to continue high quality source water and a healthy forest.  The AWA has utilized this forest management practice since its creation in the 1980’s.


AWA watersheds and drinking water reservoirs are patrolled regularly by both state & local law enforcement in addition to a private security company and the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Intergovernmental Cooperation

The AWA has partnered with the Game Commission and opened 8,000+ watershed acres to hunting.  Public use rules apply to these tracts.  The PA Game Commission will enforce public recreation.

AWA reservoirs are utilized strictly for drinking water purposes only.  Boating, swimming, and fishing are prohibited in or on any of the AWA reservoirs for any reason.

Click here for downloadable maps showing the participating areas and the restricted areas around the reservoirs.

Acid Mine Drainage

Two of the seven AWA watersheds are severely affected by Acidic Mine Drainage (AMD).  In the last decade the AWA has partnered with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Blair County Conservation District (BCCD), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and  many others to clean the AMD discharges up before entering receiving streams.  Various passive treatment technologies are being utilized every day in both the Glennwhite (HSC) and Bellwood watersheds.  The passive systems are performing well and cleaning up the streams and our drinking water sources (See Glennwhite Case Studies).  The AWA maintains and monitors these systems to ensure their performance.

Water Monitoring

Streams and reservoirs are sampled regularly to gauge watershed health and raw water quality.  Regular monitoring establishes a base line to gauge watershed changes as well as provides an early warning system if pollution problems arise.  AWA employees, AWA Watershed Protection Committee Members, and other community volunteers (EASI & T.U.) conduct water monitoring.