Monday, April 5, 2010

More Thoughts on Groundwater Management in Virginia

In its most recent session the General Assembly of Virginia passed senate bill 569 which creates a State Water Supply Plan Advisory Committee as an advisors to assist the Department of Environmental Quality in developing and implementing the state water resources plan. The committee will meet twice a year and be composed of citizen representatives of most of the water stakeholders. The committee is not compensated and will consist of citizen members representing industrial and municipal water users; public and private water providers; agricultural, conservation, and environmental organizations; state and federal agencies; and university faculty with expertise in water resources-related issues.
Who on this committee will represent me. I am one of the 1,000,000 Virginians dependent on a private well. I am a landowner and a stakeholder in any resource allocation plan because I own my water resources. I do not think that the State Water Control Board can adequately develop a state water resources plan; without the input of the citizens of Virginia any water plan will impact sustainability of our way of life, property value, personal freedom and economic opportunity. There is no life without water. The beauty of Virginia the quality of our environment is dependent on water. The Director of the Department of Environmental Quality needs to consider the citizen in planning of water supply and water resources planning in Virginia.

Though the focus of the concern has been the two groundwater management areas, one on the Eastern Shore and another covering the James-York Peninsula and Southside Virginia, Fairfax County is vulnerable to running out of water in the next drought. Our freshwater resources need to be managed as a whole. The utilization of groundwater resources in an unsustainable manner can result in impacts to the entire region, including the decrease in water level and aquifer storage, reductions in stream flow and lake levels, loss of wetland and riparian ecosystems, land subsidence, saltwater intrusion and changes in groundwater quality. Each groundwater system or basin is unique and must be managed individually, and the data necessary to understand and manage water resources must be gathered locally over time to track and respond to changes in groundwater quantity and quality as well as stream flow. All groundwater is not equal and there a consequences of withdrawing water from an aquifer beyond its recharge rate.

I personally sit on the northeastern most portion of the Culpeper Basin. Fairfax county is only a couple of miles away and when they run out of water, I fear they will look to Prince William and I recall that Los Angeles destroyed the Owens Valley when it took the water rights to the entire Owens River. Owens Lake and the surrounding area became a desert dust bowl. The water and its wealth were taken elsewhere.

1 comment:

  1. See the recent dust video of an Owens Lake dust storm at:
    This is what happens when a thirsty metropolis takes a rural area's water.