The Commonwealth and its localities 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 is essential to guaranteeing the adequacy of Virginia's water supplies to meet the current and future needs of Virginia's citizens in an environmentally sound manner.
The Office of Water Supply consists of three programs: ground water characterization, water supply planning and water withdrawal permitting.
Ground Water Characterization Program
The Ground Water Characterization Program collects, evaluates and interprets technical information necessary to manage the Commonwealth’s ground water resources. The staff works to ensure that the information necessary to support resource management decisions and water supply planning activities, assess ground water availability, facilitate drought monitoring, and support the expansion or creation of ground water management areas is available.
Water Supply Planning Program
The Water Supply Planning Program works with all counties, cities and towns in the Commonwealth to prepare and update local or regional water supply plans, which will be used in the development of a comprehensive statewide water supply plan. Objectives for this planning process are to:
- Ensure that adequate and safe drinking water is available to all citizens of the Commonwealth.
- Encourage, promote and protect all other beneficial uses of the Commonwealth's water resources.
- Encourage, promote and develop incentives for alternative water sources, including, but not limited to desalinization.
Virginia Water Withdrawal Permitting Program
The Water Withdrawal Permitting Program includes groundwater and surface water reporting and permitting.
The Virginia water withdrawal reporting regulation provides for a statewide program that requires monthly measure and annual reporting of surface and ground water withdrawals by applicable individuals or facilities that meet the threshold. The purpose of withdrawal reporting is to enable appropriate planning for the Commonwealth's future water needs through the collection of accurate information.
Under the Ground Water Management Act of 1992, Virginia manages ground water through a program regulating ground water withdrawals in certain areas called Ground Water Management Areas.
The Virginia Water Protection Permit (VWP) Program regulates surface water withdrawals from state waters and related permanent structures, fill, excavation, or back-flooding. DEQ issues VWP permits for such impacts through use of the joint permit application process and collaboration between the Office of Water Supply and the Office of Wetlands and Stream Protection. Examples of projects include, but are not limited to, reservoirs, power plants, public water supply and industrial intakes, and irrigation withdrawals.
VWWPP and VWPP Fact Sheet