The following information was adapted from "Watershed Resource Papers" developed for the Dowagiac River Watershed Project by Langworthy, Strader, LeBlanc, & Associates, Inc.
There is an integral relationship between water resources, water quality, and land use.
Residential uses - people live by water bodies for aesthetics and recreation
Agricultural uses - water bodies are often part of a farm
Industrial use - water is often used for processing and wastewater discharge
Planning is vital to water quality protection, just as water resources are vital to planning and guiding land use decisions at many levels. Certain land uses require access to water; others isolation from it. Individual landowners, whether residential, agricultural, or industrial, are rarely aware of the complexity of water resources or of the effect their actions may have. This lack of awareness, coupled with the economic and cultural value of water resources, creates a need for action by the community.
Water resources are part of a fragile system which is potentially at risk. Generally, protection and/or improvement of water quality takes place in two arenas; surface water quality - lakes, streams, rivers and ponds - and groundwater quality, it is critical that the links between these measures be clearly understood. The preservation of water quality is important for plant and animal life, tourism, and drinking water supplies.
A combination of poor soils unsuitable for septic systems, a high water table, and an increasing amount of rural development may begin to threaten the quality of an area's water supplies. Specific regulations, such as those pertaining to soil erosion and sedimentation control practices, protection of wetland areas, increased water body setbacks, the use of greenbelts or buffers, and density reductions are among the techniques that can assist in protecting water quality.