Delaware

Integrated Water Management = Greater Water Resources!

Learn more about the DRBF and water management in the Delaware River BasinBy Christina Catanese

How can what happens in the Catskill Mountains up in New York have an effect on the marine creatures down in the Delaware Bay, or the drinking water supply for people that live in Trenton or Philadelphia? It’s a watershed manager’s job to find out.

The Delaware River Basin is a great example of watershed management practices in action.  The nearly 13,000 square miles of land that drain to the Delaware River are rich and diverse.  In the Upper Delaware, the land is dominated by scenic, natural landscapes and forests, with  abundant recreational opportunities on and around the river.  As the river flows south, the basin is increasingly urbanized and the river is used more for industry and navigation.  Finally, the river becomes an estuary as it approaches the Atlantic Ocean, with wetlands and other unique habitats.  Along the way, over 15 million people use the basin for drinking water, including the water exported from the basin to the residents of New York City.  All told, a whopping 8.7 billion gallons of water from the Delaware River Basin are put to use every day.

Because of the various ways the Delaware River is used, the protection of this resource is managed differently in different areas of the basin based on local needs and priorities.  And yet, how the water (as well as land) is managed and used in one part of the basin will inevitably have an impact on other parts of the basin.  And since the river basin spans political boundaries (draining from parts of four states, 42 counties, and 838 municipalities), collaboration and holistic basin management is crucial.  Coordination is now more important than ever, as the basin faces ever-evolving challenges, including increasing populations and demand for water, increasingly urbanized areas, possible effects of climate change, and changes in industry and commerce.

For these reasons, the Delaware River Basin Forum is taking both a regional and a local approach – discussing basin-wide issues as well as local issues through the connection of the satellite locations.  Don’t forget that the forum is coming up on March 10!

These issues of integrated water management aren’t unique to the Delaware River Basin – any watershed approach must taken into account the many needs and uses of its waters in order to sustain its resources into the future.  While local specifics may differ, there are many common drivers of watershed planning, and any basin can benefit from a focus on the regional-local connectedness that the Delaware River Basin Forum seeks to do.  Government and non-government entities, as well as stakeholders like you, all have a crucial role to play in managing water resources in a sustainable way.  In the Mid-Atlantic Region, we’ve done a lot of this kind of work in the Chesapeake Bay and other, smaller watersheds, but there are many examples all over the country – like the Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, and Colorado River basin, just to name a few.

What are the most pressing water issues facing your area?  Can you think of ways that meeting the water needs of your local area might affect parts of the larger basin either upstream or downstream from where you are?

About the Author: Christina Catanese has worked at EPA since 2010, and her work focuses on data analysis and management, GIS mapping and tools, communications, and other tasks that support the work of Regional water programs. Originally from Pittsburgh, Christina has lived in Philadelphia since attending the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Political Science and an M.S. in Applied Geosciences with a Hydrogeology concentration. Trained in dance (ballet, modern, and other styles) from a young age, Christina continues to perform, choreograph and teach in the Philadelphia area.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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A funny thing happened on the way to the Delaware River Basin Forum

Learn more about the Delaware River Basin ForumWhen you go to your faucet and get yourself a glass of water do you know where your water comes from? It most likely comes from a local water body. It is important for citizens to understand where they get their water so they can take an active role in protecting it. For residents within the Delaware River Basin, there is an excellent and interactive way to learn more about the source of your water.

The Source Water Collaborative is sponsoring a Delaware River Basin Forum on March 10, 2011. The Forum will be a one-day, basin-wide event on issues affecting water resource sustainability for the more than 15 million people who rely on surface and ground water from the basin. The format of the event will reflect a theme of regional-local connection. At the central session in Philadelphia panelists will set the stage by framing current and forecasted influences on water resources basin-wide, such as water demand, land use changes and climate change. They will interact with satellite forums in Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania where stakeholders gather to discuss local issues and needs. Click here to view the locations. Anyone can attend the forum at any location. It’s free and everyone is encouraged to be active participants. Click here to register to participate in a certain location.

Moreover, to promote the concept of “meeting green”, the events at all 8 locations will also be webcast live. If you can’t attend a local meeting, consider tuning in on March 10th via the links that will be posted on the Forum website (www.delawarebasindrinkingwater.org).

Source water protection means protection of drinking water supplies. Drinking water can come from ground or surface water, and a collaborative effort is needed to ensure that our sources of drinking water remain clean for future generations. Taking positive steps to prevent pollutants from ever reaching these sources can be more efficient and less costly than treating drinking water later. States within the Delaware River Basin each have unique authorities and approaches to source water protection. Visit the Source Water Collaborative to learn more about protecting drinking water. You can search for allies of drinking water in your area here.

We hope that you can go to one of the 8 locations to participate in the forum on March 10th. If you can’t, make sure to check out the forum online and be sure to visit www.delawarebasindrinkingwater.org  to get updates. If you are attending the forum, share what site you will be attending and what topics you would like to see discussed on a comment below! Hope to see you there!

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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An Invitation

Visit the Chesapeake Bay TMDL website

Visit the Chesapeake Bay TMDL website

Are you missing out on the discussion?

EPA is setting a strict, binding “pollution diet” to restore the Chesapeake Bay and local waters.

Its impact will stretch from upstate New York to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, affecting six states and the District of Columbia.

The diet, formally known as a Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, will be established by the end of this year with key milestones between now and then.

Each month, EPA and a special guest or two are providing online updates on the Bay TMDL via webinar. Hundreds of people are tuning in to each session. It’s easy to connect.

The next webinar is scheduled for Thursday, July 8 at 10 a.m. In addition to our EPA experts, we will get an update on Delaware’s plan and how the state is moving ahead on a plan to meet reduced pollution levels.

Do you have other suggestions on how EPA can get the word out about this novel initiative?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.