Responses to a Drought Emergency Declaration

The following responses will generally be made upon declaration of a statewide or regional Drought Emergency by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia by Executive Order:

  • The Governor will issue a press release indicating the reasons for the declaration.
  • The Virginia Drought Coordinator will notify all local governments within the drought emergency areas of drought emergency status.
  • The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) will inform all public waterworks within the drought emergency area of the drought emergency status.
  • The DMTF will continue to monitor statewide moisture conditions and provide monthly reports of drought conditions to the Virginia Drought Coordinator. Significant changes in drought conditions will be reported weekly.
  • The Virginia Drought coordinator will update the Governor’s Cabinet concerning drought conditions on a weekly basis.
  • The Governor’s Press Office will encourage media outlets within the drought emergency area to publicize updates of drought conditions by developing weekly press releases.
  • All public waterworks and self-supplied water users who withdraw more than 10,000 gallons per day will initiate mandatory water conservation requirements contained in drought water conservation and contingency plans that include mandatory non-essential water use restrictions.
  • All public waterworks and self-supplied water users who withdraw more than 10,000 gallons per day that have not developed drought water conservation and contingency plans initiate mandatory non-essential water use restrictions, including the elimination of non-essential flushing of water lines.
  • All self-supplied users who withdraw less than 10,000 gallons per day, including private well users, will initiate mandatory non-essential water use restrictions.
  • All executive branch agencies and institutions will implement drought water conservation and contingency plans with the goal of reducing water usage by 15% that include mandatory non-essential water use restrictions.
  • Local governments and public waterworks may impose water use restrictions more stringent than the listed mandatory non-essential water use restrictions consistent with local water supply conditions at any time.
  • For the duration of the declared drought emergency, the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality shall be authorized to allocate ground water and surface water resources to meet the necessary beneficial uses as set for the in §62.1-44.36 of the Code of Virginia. such allocations may apply to any withdrawer and shall override any existing authorizations to use or withdraw surface water or ground water.
  • For the duration of the declared drought emergency, the State Forester shall be authorized to declare open burning bans in wild fire susceptible areas of the Commonwealth.
  • For the duration of the declared drought emergency, the Departments of State Policy, Transportation, and Motor Vehicles shall be authorized to grant temporary overweight/overwidth/registration/license exemptions to carriers transporting essential emergency relief supplies into and through the Commonwealth in order to support the disaster response and recovery.
  • Volume I, Virginia Emergency Operations Plan (COVEOP) Basic Plan, July 1997 as amended shall be implemented by agencies of the state and local government along with other appropriate state agency plans.
  • The Virginia Emergency Operations Center (VEOC) and State Emergency Response Team (SERT) will be activated to coordinate state operations in support of affected localities and the Commonwealth, to include issuing mission assignments to agencies designated in the COVEOP and others may be identified by the State Coordinator of Emergency management, in consultation with the Secretary of Public Safety, which are needed to provide for the preservation of life, protection of property, and implementation of recovery activities.
  • Local governments of the Commonwealth will be authorized to adopt local ordinances to enforce mandatory non-essential water use restrictions and to establish, collect, and retain fines for violations of these restrictions. Nothing contained in this drought response plan should be construed to limit the powers of local government to adopt and enforce local emergency ordinances as necessary to protect the public welfare, safety, and health.
              
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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000


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