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Water Withdrawal Permitting and Compliance Program

Office of Water Supply staff process permit applications and conduct compliance activities for groundwater and surface water withdrawal permits following the statutes and regulations described below:

Groundwater Withdrawal Permitting:

Under the Ground Water Management Act of 1992, Virginia manages groundwater through a program regulating the withdrawals of groundwater in certain areas called Groundwater Management Areas (GWMA). Currently, there are two Groundwater Management Areas in the state. The Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area comprises all areas east of Interstate 95. The Eastern Shore Groundwater Management Area includes Accomack and Northampton counties. Any person or entity located within a declared GWMA must obtain a permit to withdraw 300,000 gallons or more of groundwater in any one month.

Surface Water Withdrawal Permitting:

Projects involving surface water withdrawals from state waters and related permanent structures are permitted under the Virginia Water Protection (VWP) Permit Program Regulations as directed by Article 2.2 of the State Water Control Law.   DEQ issues VWP Individual permits for such impacts through use of the Joint Permit Application process.   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 Protection Permit Program does not issue permits for surface water withdrawals regulated under the Surface Water Management Act of 1989, which establishes Surface Water Management Areas. There are currently no Surface Water Management Areas designated within the Commonwealth of Virginia.


Groundwater withdrawals are regulated under:

Detailed Map of Groundwater Management Areas

Surface water withdrawals are regulated under:


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

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