Monday, October 24, 2011

Episode 85 (October 24, 2011): Virginia Statewide Water-supply Planning

This episode was updated in Episode 261, 4-13-15; the audio for this episode has been archived.

Please see below (after the transcript and show notes) for links to news and upcoming events.

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of October 24, 2011.

This week, we listen in on a recent public hearing about a subject that’s been on the agenda of every Virginia locality at some point between 2005 and 2011.  Have a listen for about 60 seconds.


You’ve been listening to the county attorney of Montgomery County at an October 11 Board of Supervisors’ public hearing on a regional water-supply plan and a local drought-declaration protocol.  Chances are that your town, county, or city’s governing body has had a similar public hearing recently.  Since 2005, all Virginia localities have been involved in a statewide water-supply planning process mandated by the 2003 Virginia General Assembly, following the severe drought of 1999 to 2002.  Like Montgomery County, many localities have participated in regional plans, and November 2011 is the deadline for submitting those plans to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.  Localities that chose to submit individual plans were required to do so between 2008 and 2010, depending on the locality’s population.  The local and regional plans are to be incorporated into a state water resources plan for submission to the General Assembly and the governor.
For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


Sources and more information:
The sound excerpts used in this episode were recorded by Alan Raflo at the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors meeting in Christiansburg, Va., on October 11, 2011.  Video of the complete meeting is available online at 

SB 1221 in the 2003 Virginia General Assembly required the following:

“The [State Water Control] Board, with the advice and guidance from the Commissioner of Health, local governments, public service authorities, and other interested parties, shall establish a comprehensive water supply planning process for the development of local, regional, and state water supply plans consistent with the provisions of this chapter [Chapter 227 of the Virginia Code].  This process shall be designed to (i) ensure that adequate and safe drinking water is available to all citizens of the Commonwealth, (ii) encourage, promote, and protect all other beneficial uses of the Commonwealth's water resources, and (iii) encourage, promote, and develop incentives for alternative water sources, including but not limited to desalinization. 

“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 plans were required to include information on the following: water sources; water use; natural resources; water-demand management or current conservation practices; drought response and contingency plans; projected water demand; and a statement of need based on the adequacy of existing water sources to meet current and projected water demand over the planning period (a minimum of 30 years to a maximum of 50 years). 

The full text of SB 1221 is available at the Virginia Legislative Information System’s Web site, at 

Information about the water-supply planning program is available from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) at this Web site,  Information about the expected compilation of the local/regional plans into a state water plan is available at this DEQ site: For more information, please contact Tammy Stephenson at the DEQ’s Blue Ridge Regional Office in Roanoke at (540) 562-6828, e-mail: 

For a summary of the process, including a table of which localities prepared individual plans and which participated in regional efforts, please see “Water Supply Planning on the Agenda in Virginia and Several Other States,” Virginia Water Central November 2009, p.7, online at

Recent Virginia Water News

For news relevant to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at 

Water Meetings and Other Events

For events related to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Quick Guide to Virginia Water–related Conferences, Workshops, and Other Events, online at The site includes a list of Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring in the coming week.