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Water Supply and Quantity

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 final State Water Resources Plan is complete and available to the public.

The Office of Water Supply consists of three programs: groundwater characterization, water supply planning and water withdrawal permitting. 

Groundwater Characterization Program

The Groundwater Characterization Program collects, evaluates and interprets technical information necessary to manage the Commonwealth’s groundwater resources. The staff works to ensure that the information necessary to support resource management decisions and water supply planning activities, assess groundwater availability, facilitate drought monitoring, and support the expansion or creation of groundwater 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 withdrawal permitting and reporting.

Under the Ground Water Management Act of 1992, Virginia manages groundwater through a program regulating ground water withdrawals in certain areas called Groundwater Management Areas.

The Virginia Water Protection Permit (VWP) Program regulates surface water withdrawals from state waters and related permanent structures, as well as impacts to state waters such as land clearing, dredging, filling, excavating, draining, or ditching in open water, streams, and wetlands.   Examples of surface water withdrawal projects include, but are not limited to, reservoirs, power plants, public water supply and industrial intakes, and irrigation withdrawals. 

Permitting for all projects that involve surface water withdrawals is coordinated by the DEQ Office of Water Supply. DEQ issues VWP individual permits for surface water withdrawals through use of the Joint Permit Application process. Inquiries or concerns regarding permitting of surface water withdrawals for a particular location can be directed to the Water Withdrawal Permitting and Compliance Program Manager.

Permitting for projects that impact state waters, but do not include a surface water withdrawal component, is coordinated by the DEQ Office of Wetlands and Stream Protection.

The Virginia Water Withdrawal Reporting Regulation (9VAC25-200-10, et seq.) provides for a statewide program that requires 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. 

Fact Sheet about the VWP Permit Program and the Water Withdrawal Reporting Program




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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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