NH Department of Environmental Services Honors City of Portsmouth with 2023 Source Water Protection Award

May 25, 2023

The NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) held its annual Drinking Water Source Protection Conference in Pembroke, NH on May 16, 2023, with more than 200 NH water works operators attending.

NHDES Commissioner Robert E. Scott presented the 2023 Source Water Protection Award to the City of Portsmouth, saying, “This award is presented to Portsmouth for the City’s multi-year effort to protect high-priority water supply lands around the Bellamy Reservoir. This effort stands out as a model in terms of protecting critical water supply lands that serve to protect the reservoir, a primary source of drinking water for the City.

The award was received by Brian Goetz, DPW Deputy Director; Al Pratt, PE, Water Resources Manager and Suzanne Woodland, Deputy City Manager/Deputy City Attorney.

In addition to the award, the City of Portsmouth DPW Water | Wastewater | Stormwater Division presented a session on “Protecting Portsmouth's Surface Water Supply.” Al Pratt and Duane Hyde, Land Conservation Director for Southeast Land Trust, offered a case study examining how “planning, outreach, land protection grants, and the City's partnership with Southeast Land Trust, the Town of Madbury and landowners have created opportunities for the protection of the Bellamy Reservoir.”

Protecting the Bellamy Reservoir and its watershed is critical to maintaining water supply quality for the long-term in the Portsmouth Water System because the Reservoir is the primary supply of the fresh water treated at the City’s Madbury Water Treatment Facility and delivered to regional communities around the seacoast. NHDES honored the City with the 2023 Drinking Water Source Protection Award for its efforts to acquire and conserve land that surrounds or includes wetlands, rivers, streams, and larger bodies of water like the Reservoir to protect the City’s water resources from the pressures of development and help the Portsmouth Water System provide quality drinking water.

“The City's approach to source water protection and outcomes involving land protection efforts are the key components of success,” said Pratt.

In 2020 the City’s Department of Public Works Water Division partnered with Southeast Land Trust (SELT) to purchase a conservation easement on approximately 107 acres adjacent to the Reservoir. This acquisition complemented the conservation easement secured in 2018 on 72 acres of property adjacent to the Bellamy Reservoir in Madbury. Both easements were obtained through the combined efforts of the City, SELT and the Town of Madbury. With their help, the City applied for and received a $287,000 grant from the New Hampshire Groundwater and Drinking Water Trust Fund and approximately $11,500 from the Great Bay Resource Protection Partnership. The Portsmouth City Council authorized the use of $287,300 from the City’s Water Enterprise Fund to complete the purchase of the 2020 easement.

CAPTION: NH DES Commissioner Robert Scott (left) presents the 2023 Source Water Protection Award to the City of Portsmouth’s Al Pratt, P.E., Water Resources Manager; Suzanne Woodland, Deputy City Manager/Deputy City Attorney and Brian Goetz, Director of Water Resources, Deputy Director of Public Works.



NH DES presents Water Protection Award to City of Portsmouth