Potomac Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan

Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin

One Basin, One Future

The Potomac Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan, adopted by the ICPRB Commissioners in June 2018, is the culmination of a multi-year, collaborative process that engaged diverse stakeholders. The plan describes a shared vision for the basin, identifies water resources issues of interstate and/or basin wide significance, and recommends actions for achieving the shared vision. It is a fifteen year plan that will be reviewed every five years to evaluate implementation progress and identify actions over the next five-year period. There is a role for everyone in the plan’s implementation.

Vision

This plan provides a roadmap to achieving our shared vision that the Potomac river basin will serve as a national model for water resources management that fulfills human and ecological needs for current and future generations. The plan will focus on sustainable water resources management that provides the water quantity and quality needed for the protection and enhancement of public health, the environment, all sectors of the economy, and quality of life in the basin. The plan will be based on the best available science and data. The ICPRB will serve as the catalyst for the plan’s implementation through an adaptive process in collaboration with partner agencies, institutions, organizations, and the public.

Purpose

The purpose of this plan is to identify and develop management recommendations for water resources issues of interstate and/or basin-wide significance. It aims to facilitate achievement of common goals, including protection of water supplies, drinking water sources, water quality, and aquatic life.

Year One through Three Implementation Progress

The first three years of implementation of the Potomac Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan resulted in the successful completion of approximately thirty percent of the planning milestones, continuation of another forty percent of the milestones whose implementation will be perpetually ongoing, and continuing efforts to address another thirty percent of the planning milestones. This document lists some of the highlights from the past year, provides a general overview of the plan’s implementation status (Figure 1), describes select ongoing activities, and gives a more detailed picture of implementation status by individual milestone (Figure 2).

Year Three Highlights

  • A pamphlet was published on unreported water uses in the basin that includes estimates by HUC-8 for the irrigation, livestock, unconventional oil and gas, thermoelectric, self-supplied domestic, aquaculture, and mining sectors.
  • ICPRB initiated a webinar series for information sharing between land use decision-makers in the basin. The kickoff event held on May 7, 2021.
  • ICPRB hosted a Virtual Event Series in August and September 2021 to identify opportunities to enhance implementation and evaluate success of the Potomac Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan.
  • The ICPRB CO-OP 2020 demand study was completed.
  • ICPRB’s CO-OP Section and Loudoun Water are completing a joint project, with the assistance of the contractor, Hazen & Sawyer, to update the Potomac OASIS model for use as a collaborative tool to explore the benefits of cooperative operation of Milestone Reservoir.
  • ICPRB signed on to the 2021 Interstate Council on Water Policy streamgage letter.

Figure 1. Year one, two, and three implementation progress for short- and long-term milestones, 2019-2023. This figure does not illustrate percent complete by funding or staff time, only by the number of milestones in each status category. Challenge areas are distinguished by color. Status is designated using three shades of that color. The figure legend was developed using Ecological Health as an example. The colors used in Figure 1 correspond to those used in Figure 2. While communications is not a challenge area, per se, it is a key component of implementation and is included here for reference.

Select Ongoing Activities

  • The Potomac Data Inventory and Mapping Exploration (DIME) initiative is in full swing to make Potomac data sets readily accessed, related, and explored.
  • Efforts are underway to quantify state reported, basin-wide water uses, demands, and consumptive demands. This effort will complement the completed unreported water uses project to provide a comprehensive look at water uses in the basin.
  • The biannual land use webinar series, initiated on May 7, 2021, will continue to promote information sharing amongst land use decision-makers in the basin.
  • Building on discussions at the 2020 Virtual Event Series, staff are compiling and describing environmental metrics to use in 2023 to evaluate the environmental impact of the plan’s implementation.
  • Ongoing research in the Cacapon River continues to try to identify the link between non-point nutrient sources and localized algal blooms in the region. Most recently, ICPRB has started investigating the role ground water as a vector of nutrient transport in this region.
  • ICPRB continues to meet with state and local stakeholders, identify and fill in data needs, and conduct river user outreach in the North Branch Potomac River region to optimize the multiple uses of the watershed.
  • Focused communications activities included press releases, frequent social media posts, and targeted presentations.

 

Figure 2. Implementation status by milestone and challenge area. Detailed descriptions of each milestone can be found in the comprehensive plan or in the pre-meeting materials for each challenge area. While communications is not a challenge area, per se, it is a key component of implementation and is included here for reference. Colors used in this figure correspond to colors used in Figure 1. The darker the shade, the closer a milestone is to being complete.  

References

USACOE and ICPRB. 2020. Planning Assistance to States: Jennings Randolph Lake Scoping Study Phase II Report. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, Maryland.

Third Year Progress

The comprehensive plan added precision to its use as a tool to guide sustainable water resources policies and actions by documenting the Unreported Water Use in the basin. Use of water for irrigation, industrial use, and drinking that does not fall under reporting requirements is small but significant, and is important in assessments of the amount of sustainable water available for use.

Second Year Progress

September. 2020

The first two years of implementation of the Potomac Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan resulted in the successful completion of 20 percent of the planning milestones, implementation of another 40 percent of the milestones whose activities will be perpetually ongoing, and continuing efforts to address another 32 percent of the planning milestones. 

Highlights

Figure 1. Year one and two implementation progress for short- and long-term milestones, 2019-2023. This figure does not illustrate percent complete by funding or staff time, only by the number of milestones in each status category. Challenge areas are distinguished by color. Status is designated using four shades of that color. The figure legend was developed using Ecological Health as an example. While communications is not a challenge area, per se, it is a key component of implementation and is included here for reference.

  • The Potomac Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan Event Series, an overarching recommendation of the comprehensive plan, was planned.  The event series is slated to include a 2.5 day stakeholder process with topics covering the full range of challenges described in the plan.
  • Unreported water use estimates by HUC-8 and county were completed for the irrigation, livestock, unconventional oil and gas, thermoelectric, self-supplied domestic, aquaculture, and mining sectors.
  • The manuscript Integrated Sustainable Water Resources Management and Land Use Decision-Making was published in the Journal of Water in August 2020.
  • Jennings Randolph Lake Water Control Plan Scoping Study, Phase 2 was completed (USACOE and ICPRB, 2020).
  • The ICPRB signed on to the 2020 Interstate Council on Water Policy streamgage letters.

Select Ongoing Activities

Figure 2. Implementation status by milestone and challenge area. Detailed descriptions of each milestone can be found in the comprehensive plan or in the pre-meeting materials for each challenge area. While communications is not a challenge area, per se, it is a key component of implementation and is included here for reference. Colors used in this figure correspond to colors used in Figure 1. The darker the shade, the closer a milestone is to being complete.

  • Execution of the Potomac Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan Event Series occurred in August and September 2012, event follow-up is underway.
  • The Cacapon River filamentous algae study is ongoing with expected completion at the end of fiscal year 2020.
  • The Potomac Data Inventory and Mapping Exploration (DIME) initiative is in full swing to make Potomac data sets readily accessed, related, and explored.
  • The CO-OP 2020 demand study is under final review.
  • A scope of work has been developed for a study on basin-wide water uses, demands, and consumptive demands and initial efforts of the study are underway.
  • Focused communications activities included press releases, frequent social media posts, and targeted presentations.

 

Report: Review of Year One Progress

Documents

Cover Page: An outline of the basin that has a photo with a bridge, trees, and lake. The tagline, One Basin, One Future, is at the top and the title, Potomac River Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan, is at the bottom. Please note that the first document contains Appendices C and D but Appendices A and B are separate documents.

  1. Potomac River Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan (20MB)
  2. Appendix A: Final Report of the Advisory Committee (0.5MB)
  3. Appendix B: Annotated Bibliography by Challenge Area (0.5MB)
  4. View a presentation about the comprehensive plan

Quick Access

Executive Summary
Potomac River Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan Executive Summary: A photo of a covered bridge over water and the text of the Executive Summary below.

MapPotomac River Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan Watershed Map

 

Simple Actions We Can do to Make a Difference
Potomac River Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan: Simple Actions We Can Do to Make a Difference
Recommendations by Challenge Areas
Potomac River Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan: Challenge Areas
Vision
Potomac River Basin Comprehensive Plan Vision
PurposePotomac River Basin Comprehensive Plan Purpose

 


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