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Home > Environment > Water Resources > Water Supply > Regional Agreements

Regional Agreements

Supply Coordination Agreements

The Washington Metropolitan Region has taken several steps through the years toward coordinating allocation of water in times of drought:

The 1978 Low Flow Allocation Agreement (LFAA) was signed by the states and by the major utilities, who recognized the need to maintain a minimum flow in the Potomac River that would be sufficient to sustain aquatic resources. The agreement established a set of stages for low river flow that would prompt action by the signatories to monitor and eventually restrict water withdrawals. It also established a formula for allocating Potomac River water during times of shortage. The LFAA's low-flow stages have never been triggered, and a subsequent agreement minimized the possibility that they would ever be triggered.

In 1982, the major water utilities and the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB) signed the Water Supply Coordination Agreement (WSCA). It required the major water suppliers to coordinate their operations during droughts in order to minimize the possibility of having to implement the restrictive stages of the LFAA. The actions of the water supply agencies are coordinated through a Drought-Related Operations Manual administered by ICPRB's Section for Cooperative Water Supply Operations on the Potomac (CO-OP). The major suppliers agreed to have CO-OP conduct a 20-year supply-demand study every five years. They further agreed to share the costs for supply augmentation facilities and subsequently constructed the Jennings Randolph and Little Seneca Reservoirs that serve to augment the region's water supply during droughts.

Emergency Agreements

The 1979 Water Supply Emergency Agreement signed by COG, COG local governments, WSSC and FCWA was designed to implement the restrictive stages of the LFAA. It encourages signatories to adopt local ordinances that follow the specific conservation measures detailed in the accompanying Water Supply Emergency Plan and to implement these actions as coordinated by COG in the event of a water supply shortage.

The 1994 Water Supply Emergency Plan was developed in the wake of the region's 1993 boil-water order. The plan deals primarily with sudden, unexpected disruptions in water supply. It is conceived as a replacement for the emergency plan that accompanied the 1979 Water Supply Emergency Agreement, although it deals mainly with non-drought emergencies and only references existing drought managment agreements and arrangements.

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