The state Department of Environmental Protection released the draft of its 2022 Pennsylvania State Water Plan this week, asking Pennsylvanians to share their feedback on the resource-management proposal before it is finalized.
The plan, an outline for how the commonwealth manages the demand on its water resources, contains more than 100 water-management recommendations focusing on areas of concern, such as flood control, stormwater management, water withdrawal, legacy coal mining impacts, legacy oil and gas wells, drinking water and wastewater treatment, contaminants of emerging concern, and agricultural nonpoint source pollution, according to the department.
The draft plan also makes recommendations to the Legislature, calling for the establishment of water well-drilling construction standards as well as continued funding for DEP’s stormwater planning grant and reimbursement program for municipalities across the commonwealth.
“The Pennsylvania State Water Plan is a powerful tool for all Pennsylvanians working in a professional or volunteer capacity to manage or protect our waters,” DEP acting Secretary Ramez Ziadeh said. “I thank the many committee volunteers who shared their expertise to develop this robust draft plan and encourage everyone to review it and share their thoughts. Public participation is critical to finalizing a plan that sustains Pennsylvania’s invaluable water resources.”
According to the DEP, more than 100 Pennsylvanians from the state’s six regional committees “contributed assessments and recommendations” to the 2022 plan.
Deborah Klenotic, a spokesperson for the department, stressed the importance of public input on the plan, citing its impact on all aspects of life in the commonwealth.
“In Pennsylvania, we have almost 13 million people; countless companies, hospitals, and schools; over 50,000 farms; and over 2,500 municipalities. Virtually all require healthy and sustainable water sources,” Klenotic said. “As climate change and human activities increasingly stress our natural environment, we need to be proactive in managing and sustaining our streams, rivers, lakes, and groundwater, and the water supplies they provide for daily use.
“The more Pennsylvanians who review the plan, familiarize themselves with the regional and statewide challenges, and weigh in on the solutions, the better,” Klenotic added.
Comments can be submitted to the department online, via email, or by mail and must include the commenter’s name and address.
The deadline for comments is September 19, 2022.
Cassie Miller is a contributor at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, where this story first appeared.