Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Pain of Planning

by Jennifer Wemhoff, The Groundwater Foundation

Over the years, The Groundwater Foundation has worked with many communities across the U.S. that have developed wellhead protection (WHP) plans as a means to protect their groundwater and drinking water.

Developing the plan is often a long and arduous process. It involves assessing threats and risks to groundwater, figuring out action plans to protect it, hearing from stakeholders, and a final adoption of the plan.

The plan's completion is in and of itself a major accomplishment. But it's what comes next that defines the future of that community's groundwater. Does the plan get checked off a list, set on the shelf, and never looked at again? Or does it serve as a road map for the implementation of the action plans and protecting groundwater?

Over the past nine months, The Groundwater Foundation has been immersed in developing a strategic plan for our organization. In reviewing parts of the plan today, it dawned on me how much this process mirrors the WHP planning process. We've gathered information from stakeholders. We've looked at challenges to the long-term success of our organization. We've developed action plans to help us reach our goals. And our board of directors will formally adopt the plan in the next few months.

And now comes the scary part: implementation. It's where the rubber meets the road, both for WHP and for the success of The Groundwater Foundation. It's very easy to lose sight of the long-term vision of WHP and a strategic plan in the day-to-day busy-ness of our work, but it's vital that we keep our eye on the prize and look to the future. For The Groundwater Foundation, implementing the action plans of our strategic plan is what will ensure our organization continues to educate people and inspire action on behalf of groundwater. For communities, implementing a WHP plan is what will keep their community's drinking water safe into the future.

So while planning may be a pain, both strategically for The Groundwater Foundation and WHP for a community, it's a necessary process to get us to the next step of implementation and protecting our precious groundwater.

Has your community implemented a wellhead protection plan? Tell us about it - post a comment or email

No comments: