ABSTRACT: For many years, a commonly used strategy for source water protection in Taiwan has been setting up arbitrary, fixed-width buffer zones near sensitive waters, such as water-supply reservoirs, and prohibiting any development in their watersheds. However, such regulations are now often viewed as infringing by the government on landowners' property rights, a situation that has led to citizen protests. This paper describes a proposed strategy that is water-quality based and uses a quantitative zoning approach. A reservoir's watershed is divided into several zones beginning from the normal water line to the divide. Different levels of best management practices (BMPs) are required for controlling runoff pollution in different zones. The layout of the management zones is based on a number of factors such as reservoir classification, water quality conditions, and physical characteristics of the watershed. The goal of promoting such an approach is to try to balance the needs of watershed development and water quality protection. A case study using the Tapu Reservoir Watershed in Northern Taiwan as an example for illustrating the proposed zoning approach is presented.