Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Commonwealth Water Supply Planning Program

Image of a Water Resource

The Commonwealth of Virginia is rich in water resources, both in terms of number and diversity. However, as the impacts of the recent drought have demonstrated this resource cannot be taken for granted. The Commonwealth and its localities must work together to manage and protect our water resources to meet long term human and environmental needs. Improved coordination of drought response and water resources management activities at the local, regional and state levels are essential to guaranteeing the adequacy of Virginia’s water supplies to meeting the current and future needs of Virginia’s citizens in an environmentally sound manner.

The Code of Virginia, as amended by Senate Bill 1221 in 2003 (Section 62.1-44.38:1) requires the development of a comprehensive statewide water supply planning process to (1) ensure that adequate and safe drinking water is available to all citizens of the Commonwealth, (2) encourage, promote, and protect all other beneficial uses of the Commonwealth's water resources, and (3) encourage, promote, and develop incentives for alternative water sources, including but not limited to desalinization. In addition the amended Code Section provides that local or regional water supply plans shall be prepared and submitted to the Department of Environmental Quality in accordance with criteria and guidelines developed by the Board. Such criteria and guidelines shall take into account existing local and regional water supply planning efforts and requirements imposed under other state or federal laws. The Local and Regional Water Supply Planning Regulation (9 VAC 25-780) was developed to implement the mandates of this section of the Code.

The Code of Virginia was futher amended by House Bill 552 in 2006 (Section 62.1-44-38:1) which clarified the requirements of the Code by providing that the criteria and guidelines established by the Board shall not prohibit a town from entering into a regional water supply plan with an adjacent county.

This regulation establishes the planning process and criteria that all local governments are to use in the development of local or regional water supply plans. The regulation also established a schedule for submittal of those plans.

Local Water Supply Plans are due by:

Local Governments electing to participate in the submittal of Regional Water Supply Plans must notify DEQ of the intent to participate in a Regional Plan by November 2008. Regional Water Supply Plans are water plans developed and submitted by two or more cities or counties or both. A town and an adjacent county may develop a regional water plan. Two or more towns may develop and submit a regional water plan where the plan results in the proposed development of future water supply projects that supply the water supply demands of the affected towns. Such plans developed by two or more towns mat be included in regional water plans developed and submitted by counties or cities. Regional water plans shall be developed and submitted in conjunction with all public service authorities operating community water systems within the regional planning unit, if applicable.

This web site is being provided as part of the State's role in program development and preparation to facilitate acquisition of resource information (9 VAC 25-780-60).


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