As described in the State Water Plan, the water resource assessments are one of the foundational building blocks for regional water planning. To support regional water planning, three resource assessments were conducted to provide technical information on the capacity of water resources to meet demand for water supply and wastewater discharge. Assessments looked at surface water availability, groundwater availability and the ability of surface waters to process treated wastewater.
The state’s waters support a range of uses and provide a variety of benefits. These include benefits from water withdrawn for household, commercial, industrial, and agricultural use, among others. Surface waters also provide benefits through uses that occur within the banks of streams, rivers, and lakes. These instream uses include dilution and processing of wastewater, boating, fishing, and other uses.
Because the state’s waters support a range of uses and provide a variety of benefits, the resource assessments were undertaken to give the Regional Water Planning Councils information on the long-term capacity of individual resources to support multiple uses. EPD modeled responses of water bodies to current and projected demands, and compared results with thresholds that indicate the potential for local or regional impacts to address in the regional planning process.
The assessments were not intended to be a comprehensive or definitive analysis of how much water can be withdrawn from an individual waterbody or how much can be discharged to an individual waterbody − those quantities will vary with a number of specifics (e.g., location of withdrawals or discharges; wastewater treatment levels). Rather, the assessments were designed to help the Regional Water Planning Councils identify areas where management actions might be needed to ensure that a region’s resources can sustainably meet long-term demands for water supply and wastewater discharge.
For more information about each of the resource assessments, please consult each of the topic links.