Guest column: Draft an important step in meeting water needs

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 16, 2005

Saturday’s May 7, 2005 edition of the Suffolk News-Herald reported the Western Tidewater Water Authority’s recent receipt of a draft groundwater permit.

As reported, this draft permit is a very important step in continuing to meet the Authority’s member jurisdictions, City of Suffolk and the County of Isle of Wight, projected water demands through the year 2013.

It is important to our region’s continued economic development initiatives, along with meeting our projected new residential demands for this time period. In reading the article, I did feel it necessary to provide some clarification concerning the authority’s permit effort, due to the article’s title &uot;Water for the duration&uot; and its opening paragraph.

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Southeastern Virginia is designated as a groundwater management area by the Commonwealth, which requires localities to make application and receive a groundwater permit from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Groundwater permits are issued on a 10-year planning period, and are evaluated on various technical aspects including any potential impacts to the region’s groundwater aquifers.

As noted in the article, the authority has worked extensively with DEQ over a three-year period to obtain the permit for the additional 4.6 million gallons per day groundwater withdrawal.

It is important to understand that the permit’s demand justification is directly correlated to our comprehensive land use plan.

The city of Suffolk’s 2018 Comprehensive Land Use Plan has a designated water service district, which generally extends from the James River south to the intersection of Routes 13 and 32.

Within this service area, new demands were based on an annual growth rate not to exceed five per cent.

This equates to 1,215 new connections per year over the planning period.

Any significant future modification to the city’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan, which requires the expansion of the city’s water service district, has a direct correlation to the authority’s permit demand justification. Therefore, to meet anticipated demands through 2013, it is important that we continue our managed growth strategies.

Receipt of the draft groundwater permit is a major step forward in the Western Tidewater Water Authority continued long-term water source development. The Authority is continuing its long-term water source and facility planning through 2030, and our initial assessment demonstrates the need for an additional 10 million gallons per day of new water source to meet our 2030 projections.

Albert S. Moor II, P.E. is director of Public Utilities for the city of Suffolk.