Mathews board to hold hearing on regional water plan

Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Mar 21, 2012 - 04:35 PM

The Mathews County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing Tuesday to hear public comment on the Middle Peninsula Regional Water Supply Plan. The meeting will be held at 1 p.m. in the courthouse.

During the February board meeting, chair Janine Burns said that action was needed on the plan, since it is a mandatory state requirement and the county missed the Nov. 2 deadline for adoption.

In a memorandum, county staff reminded board members that there had been objections to the plan on the grounds that it represented government overreach with regard to private wells, and that concern had also been expressed about adopting a drought management ordinance.

Burns suggested possibly adopting the plan as drafted, but without an enforcement ordinance. She suggested sending a letter to the commonwealth stating that the county will draft an ordinance in the event of an emergency.

The board agreed to have a public hearing on those terms.

Executive summary

The Middle Peninsula Regional Water Supply Plan was developed by the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission, and an executive summary outlines its provisions.

The summary states that the plan is required under Virginia Regulation 9 VAC 25-780. It evaluates existing water sources and water usage, projected future demand, and the demands of competing uses in order to ensure sufficient water for residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural and institutional needs in the counties of Mathews, Middlesex, King and Queen, King William and Essex, and the towns of Tappahannock, Urbanna and West Point.

Some pertinent points made in the summary include likely growth in water demand by up to 5.1 million gallons per day over a 30-year period, largely due to increased demand in King William County; the current use of publicly-owned and privately-owned community water systems that rely on groundwater; and the existence of some type of demand management in every jurisdiction, including low-flow fixtures, public education about water use , and management practices by large private system users.

The summary points out that existing water sources appear capable of supporting demand for the next 30 years, except for King William County and West Point.