Monday, April 13, 2015

Episode 261 (4-13-15): Virginia's State Water Resources Plan

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:44)

Transcript, photos, and additional notes follow below.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of April 27, 2015.

This week, we drop in on a public hearing about a subject that was on the agenda of every Virginia locality at some point between 2005 and 2011, and this month re-emerged at the state level.  Have a listen for about 45 seconds.


You’ve been listening to the county attorney of Montgomery County, Va., at an October 2011, public hearing on a water-supply plan and a drought-declaration protocol.  If you’re a Virginia resident, chances are that your town, county, or city’s governing body had a similar public hearing sometime around then, because by November 2011 all Virginia localities had to submit long-range local or regional water-supply plans to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ.  This process was mandated by the Virginia General Assembly, following the severe drought of 1999 to 2002.  Now, the DEQ has incorporated 48 local and regional plans into the statewide Virginia Water Resources Plan, and on April 7, 2015, the agency released a 400+-page draft of that plan for public comment.  The plan is a comprehensive look at the Commonwealth’s surface water and groundwater sources and at the capacity of those sources to meet water demand through 2040, by which time demand statewide is projected to increase by about 32 percent.  Beside increased demand, the plan also identifies several other water-supply challenges and makes recommendations to address them.  Following the public-comment period ending May 8, the DEQ and the State Water Control Board will prepare a final plan for submission to the General Assembly and the governor.  Through this long public-policy process—involving elected officials, water-resource managers, and citizens—Virginia is making probably its most ambitious statewide effort ever to ensure that future citizens are adequately supplied by this kind of process:

SOUNDS – Storm, Stream Flow, Pouring Water – 9 sec.

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.


[All Internet addresses mentioned were functional as of 4/13/15]


The Virginia Water Resources Plan released (draft form) in April 2015 is a landmark in Virginia’s long history of water-resources management.  The historic reservoir structure shown above was photographed in Newbern (Pulaski County) in June 2013.

Local drought protocols are one part of the Virginia Water Resources Plan, released (draft form) in April 2015.  Shown above is a literally dry Dry River in Rockingham County on November 25, 2007; at the time, over 87 percent of Virginia was rated in “moderate drought” by the U.S. Drought Monitor (see


The voice excerpts used in this episode were recorded by Virginia Water Radio at the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors meeting in Christiansburg, Va., on October 11, 2011.

This episode updates Episode 85, 10/24/11; the audio for that episode has been archived.

Sources for this Episode

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, State Water Resources Plan open for public comment,” 4/7/15 news release, available online at

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, “Water Supply and Quantity,” online at (see “Water Supply Planning” link for information about the statewide planning process).

Virginia Legislative Information System, Senate Bill 1221 in the 2003 Virginia General Assembly (the bill mandating a statewide water-supply planning process), online at 

Other Sources of Information about Water Supply

U.S. Geological Survey Virginia Water Science Center, “Water Resources of Virginia,” online at

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, “Virginia’s Major Watersheds,” online at

Virginia Water Resources Research Center, “Virginia Water Central News Grouper” posts on news, events, and information resources relevant to water supply, online at

Virginia Water Resources Research Center, “Water Supply Planning on the Agenda in Virginia and Several Other States,” Virginia Water Central newsletter, November 2009, p.7, online at

Some Other Virginia Water Radio Episodes Related to Water Supply Management

Groundwater - EP178 – 9/9/13State Water Control Board - EP94 – 1/9/12

Virginia General Assembly - EP147 – 2/4/13; EP247 – 1/5/15
Water cycle - EP191 – 12/9/13
Water resources degree at Virginia Tech - EP243 – 12/8/14

Winter precipitation and water supplies - EP258 – 3/23/15
Worldwide water needs - EP122 – 8/6/12

For a subject index to all previous Virginia Water Radio episodes, please see this link:

SOLs Information for Virginia Teachers

This episode may help with the following Virginia’s 2010 Science Standards of Learning (SOLs).

Grades K-6

6.5 - role of water in human environment

6.9 - public policy decisions

Earth Science

ES. 8 - freshwater resources

The episode may help with the following Virginia 2008 Social Studies SOLs.

World Geography

WG.7 - types of natural, human, and capital resources

Virginia and United States Government

GOV. 8 - organization and powers of the state and local governments

GOV. 9 - process by which public policy is made

GOV. 16 - role of government in Virginia economy

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at