RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER BASIN COMMISSION

GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR WATER RESOURCE PLANNING

Water Resource Planning in the Rappahannock Basin should include the concepts of Proactive Planning, Supply Side and Demand Side Management, Ground and Surface Water Source Development and Protection, Self-Sufficiency and Regional Cooperation, Public Involvement and Ecological Integrity.

PURPOSE

1.      Encourage localities to pursue a holistic/comprehensive approach on a regional basis to water resource planning that should focus on the development of recommended policies and tools for use in their water resource planning efforts.

Tools or recommendations provided to accomplish this task:

o       River basin model facilitates a comprehensive approach by providing a means to evaluate the impact of water development on a system wide basis.

o       Regional approaches are advocated in discussion of planning boundaries and a proposal is presented that divides the basin into natural planning areas based on consideration of both natural and political boundaries.

2.      Incorporate adaptability as a part of the development of water supply planning policies and tools and underscore the value of continuing to explore and develop multiple options for water resource planning since future development will affect the feasibility or effectiveness of recommended policies in ways the present-day perspective cannot fully anticipate.

Tools or recommendations provided to accomplish this task:

o       The concept of adaptability is promoted through provision of planning models that facilitate the evaluation of multiple options for such factors as conservation and supply expansion.

3.      Maximize the opportunity for local decision-makers and stakeholders to control the allocation of water resources by providing the tools necessary to make allocation decisions that take into account the goals and needs of local stakeholders and decision makers.

Tools or recommendations provided to accomplish this task:

o       Local control is enhanced by increased understanding of the resource resulting from data summaries and procedures for location and analysis of water resources information.

4.      Insure that water resource planning includes consideration of both human and natural environment needs and strives to balance in-stream and off-stream needs in a manner that limits impact upon the environment  while allowing localities and water resource authorities  to provide the life-supportive resources that sustain their economic and social quality of life. Additionally, the concept of water resource management should include the protection of ground and surface waters to ensure resource sustainability.

Tools or recommendations provided to accomplish this task:

o       River basin model provides a mechanism for examining the impacts of alternative minimum flow policies and water conservation strategies.

o       Data summaries and resource descriptions emphasize that water supply planning requires consideration of the balance between instream and offstream water use.

DATA/INFORMATION

1.      Provide objective quantification of water resources that facilitates consensus through development of data that promotes proper water resource planning at the regional level.

Tools or recommendations provided to accomplish this task:

o       Better understanding of the resource is facilitated by the summary of surface water data and review of literature on ground water availability.

IDENTIFY STAKEHOLDERS

1.      Identify and involve all stakeholders to determine their goals and water resource needs and provide the opportunity and encourage them to participate in the planning. These different stakeholders should be identified in each region within the basin, and these “regions” should be based upon the nature of the water resource planning issue.

Tools or recommendations provided to accomplish this task:

o       River basin model supports the shared vision approach to planning by facilitating examination of conflicts among stakeholders and identification of win/win solutions.

o       Definition of appropriate regions is facilitated by proposal for water supply planning areas.

 

IDENTIFYING  ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS

1.      Evaluate projects and decisions by asking what is the social, political, economic and environmental costs of being wrong in the broadest sense as it affects all aspects of water resources and provide the tools for localities to make these evaluations and assess water supply planning issues in their areas.

Tools or recommendations provided to accomplish this task:

o       River basin model provides a tool for evaluating the consequences of water management decisions.

2.      Incorporate as a minimum the following issues in a water supply plan:

Drought management

Conservation management

Supply and Demand Side Alternatives

Ground and Surface Water Sources

Source Water Protection

Tools or recommendations provided to accomplish this task:

o       Understanding of the severity and duration of historical drought is facilitated by data summaries and simulation of river behavior by the river basin model.

o       Information on conservation effectiveness is provided by a literature review.

o       The river basin model facilitates examination of the impacts of both supply enhancement and water demand reduction. 

3.      Address the alternatives involving supply side and demand side solutions in water resource planning, including the issue of interconnections and relationships with surrounding service authorities and localities in order to optimize the utility of the basin water resources.

Tools or recommendations provided to accomplish this task:

o       Model of the interconnected reservoirs in the Fredericksburg region illustrates the potential for joint operation to increase safe yield.

4.      Educate the public on water supply planning issues to create an understanding of planning choices.

Tools or recommendations provided to accomplish this task:

o       Resource information and planning tools developed provide a basis for a public relations campaign to enhance the level of citizen awareness and sense of involvement in water supply management.

IMPLEMENTATION

1.      Demonstrate the buy-in by federal, state and local decision-makers in the framework for water supply planning developed by the WAG (Water Allocation Group) and how this can be used to empower local decision-makers.

Tools or recommendations provided to accomplish this task:

o       The shared vision planning model that has been adopted as the framework for development of planning techniques and tools has generated a substantial level of interest by local water suppliers and state and federal agencies; it provides a continuing means to maintain an interactive, cooperative approach to serve in place of the adversarial relationship often seen among levels of government relating to water supply management.  This environment provides more guidance and greater certainty for water suppliers as they plan for satisfaction of future water supply needs.