The state is required to prepare and submit to the Governor, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources, the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources, and the State Water Commission, a state water resources plan in accordance with § 62.1-44.38, which includes information from existing local and regional water supply plans.
The state water resources plan shall include:
- An estimate of current water withdrawals and use for agriculture, industry, domestic use, and other significant categories of water users.
- A projection of water withdrawals and use by agriculture, industry, domestic water use, and other significant categories of water users.
- An estimate, for each major river and stream, of the minimum in-stream flows necessary during drought conditions to maintain water quality and avoid permanent damage to aquatic life in streams, bays, and estuaries.
- An evaluation, to the extent practicable, of the ability of existing subsurface and surface waters to meet current and future water uses, including minimum in-stream flows, during drought conditions.
- An evaluation, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Health and local water supply managers, of the current and future capability of public water systems to provide adequate quantity and quality of water.
- An identification of water management problems and alternative water management plans to address such problems.
- An evaluation of the hydrologic, environmental, economic, social, legal, jurisdictional, and other aspects of each alternative management strategy identified.
Local and Regional Water Supply Plans will be included in the State Water Resource Plan when determined to be in compliance with the State Plan. 9 VAC 25-780-140.G requires that "in conjunction with the compliance determination made by the board, the state will develop additional information and conduct additional evaluation of local or regional alternatives in order to facilitate continuous planning. This additional information shall be included in the State Water Resources Plan and used by localities in their program planning. This information shall include: 1. A cumulative demand analysis, based upon information contained in the State Water Resources Plan and other sources; 2. The evaluation of alternatives prepared pursuant to 9 VAC 25-780-130.B and C; 3) The evaluation of potential use conflicts among projected water demand and estimates of requirements for in-stream flow; and 4) An evaluation of the relationship between the local plan and the State Water Resources Plan.
The Concept for the State Plan includes the following:
- To put local and regional plans together with relevant state water resource information in one place;
- To provide a qualitative and quantitative description of water resources in Virginia based upon readily accessible data, and guidance on the use of that information in the decisions that face the Plan's users;
- To provide a statewide snapshot of what the water supply needs are, where they are met, and our best estimate of the resource's ability to meet additional needs;
- To manage water resources to ensure their continued availability, while also maximizing environmental and economic benefits;
- To provide an on-going process that evolves in response to changing conditions over time;
- To identify areas of the state where multiple users want the same source for their water needs;
- To identify existing areas of the state where water availability may be insufficient now or in the near future based on these needs;
- To try and find resolutions to conflicts through regional solutions, alternative sources, or some other option;
- To identify a locality's needs and the constraints to meeting these needs;
- To see where there may be willing partners for regional solutions and where these solutions may be most practical; and
- To provide a useful economic development tool by identifying areas with available water supplies, and areas where water needs for promoting tourism and recreation are identified.
The State Water Plan is currently under development.
Status of Virginia's Water Resources
The Office of Water Supply prepares an Annual Water Resources Report for publication each October that summarizes the status of Virginia's Water Resources and provides details regarding the use of water within the Commonwealth during the previous year.