State Water Sustainability Planning Summit: The Groundwater Connection

In some parts of the country, long-range water sustainability planning studies are conducted and implemented with extensive interagency and interdisciplinary coordination with public and stakeholder input. Often the product is considered a State Water Plan. In other parts of the country, long-range planning initiatives are done at a localized district level or at a larger interstate basin level, or not at all. Some of these plans are centered on surface water resources and others include the utilization of groundwater to meet future needs. Long-range planning is critical for assuring efficient conjunctive use of surface and groundwater resources without undue reliance on available surface or groundwater. The Ground Water Protection Council has no position regarding a ‘right way’ to plan for water sustainability. Our member state agencies have growing concerns regarding the increasingly competitive demand for all water resources and we believe that sharing experiences will create avenues to improve water sustainability planning.

The Ground Water Research & Education Foundation is now accepting applications for its consideration, to provide grant funding to cover travel expenses for qualified applicants to participate in the September 11-14, 2016 State Water Sustainability Planning Summit: The Groundwater Connection. The event will take place in Orlando, FL in conjunction with the Ground Water Protection Council’s Annual Forum and National Rural Water Association’s WaterPro conference.

Selected applicants will be invited to be a part of the proceedings of the 2+day event. Participants will be expected to take an active role in the sessions which are designed to highlight innovative initiatives and to address areas where the survey results (gathered from the questionnaire that is part of this application) show the greatest needs for assistance. We plan to also focus on areas pertaining to the challenges of developing and implementing water sustainability planning. The questionnaire will help identify areas where the needs of all water users, including agriculture, energy production, power production, municipal and industrial supply, can provide unique insights into to the state planning process and will help identify topics that should be included in session discussions.

Even if you do not plan to attend the event or are not making a grant application, we would appreciate you completing the questionnaire.

Please complete the following questionnaire/grant application that can be accessed below with as much detailed information as necessary to communicate your thoughts in each section (not to exceed 250 words per response). We ask that you respond to the best of YOUR ability. Your responses will NOT be attributed directly to YOU but rather displayed in aggregate and will be used to further plan the summit to make it meaningful to all attending.

Based on response received, the GWREF will award up to 16 full-ride (coverage of all travel, lodging, and registration costs) scholarships to participate in the September 11-14 GWPC Annual Forum in Orlando, FL, as well as, an additional 20 waived registrations for State agency participation at the event.

Applications and questionnaire responses are due June 30th.

Let’s work together to learn how to develop and implement state-of-the-art state water sustainability plans.

Questions regarding the survey itself or the Ground Water Research & Education Foundation, contact:

Ben Grunewald
Managing Director
Ground Water Research & Education
405 516 4972 –


* 1. Contact Information


* 2. Does your state have a formal water planning process?

* 3. Does State water law/policy guide the development of a statewide management plan?

* 4. Which governmental entity is designated as the lead for plan development and/or plan revisions?

* 5. Does your state have a completed state-wide water plan?

* 6. Is the plan available via the internet?

* 7. Is there a process for plan review and revision?

* 8. Is your state presently in the process of developing or updating a state water plan?

* 9. How is/was the planning and revision effort funded?

Why Water Resource Planning?

* 10. Describe the major drivers/reasons that precipitated the development of a plan or that required revisions to an existing plan (such as -- droughts, response to climate change, flooding, meeting ecological habitat needs, sea level rise, shrinking available water resources, water quality changes, new demands or new industries or techniques, population growth, legislative mandate, etc.).

* 11. When considering water quantity problems (such as: drought, flooding, competition for instream uses, spring and instream flows, sea level rise, and those identified in the previous question), which issues were addressed by the planning process? What were some of the solutions identified in your state plan?

* 12. When considering water quality problems (such as: ecologically based quality problems, maintaining water quality for designated uses, salt water intrusion, drinking water treatment issues, contamination issues, and those issues identified in the major drivers/reasons question) which issues were addressed by the planning process? What were some of the solutions identified in your state?

State or Area-Wide Water Planning Process:
a. Data/Information Needs:

* 13. What data sources or data sets, that are available on a nationwide, statewide, or regional basis, did you find especially useful in your plan development?

* 14. Describe the types of water quantity data (both surface and groundwater) and its availability in your state? Please include how often these data are collected, what is monitored, and if the data are accessible electronically and/or via the web (please provide link).

* 15. Describe the types of water quality data (both surface and groundwater) and its availability in your state? Please include how often these data are collected, what is monitored, and if the data are accessible electronically and/or via the web (please provide link).

* 16. List other types of data that were needed but not available.

b. Data Gathering/Analysis:

* 17. What are the major water use categories addressed in your plan? (e.g. public supply, irrigation, domestic and livestock, thermoelectric, instream flows, mining, other?)

* 18. Does your state conduct surveys of water use or use other means to estimate water use by sector?

* 19. Are data collection, analyses, or modeling used to estimate current uses, including use of groundwater?

* 20. Are modeling or other methods of projecting population increase used to predict future water demands?

* 21. Are Infrastructure needs and costs for water supply development identified in the plan?

* 22. Are conservation practices recommended or factored into future use estimates or estimates of water resource availability?

* 23. Does your state conduct surface, ground, or holistic (surface and ground) water resource availability modeling?

* 24. Is this water availability modeling used in the planning process to project current and future needs?

c. How Does Groundwater Fit into Plan Development:

* 25. Has your state conducted or started a statewide or regional planning process that includes groundwater resources to address current and future water supply needs and issues?

* 26. Describe how groundwater infrastructure fits into your water plan both for current and future needs:

* 27. Please describe what approach was used to identify areas of potential shortages? If modeling was used, please describe the model:

* 28. What other approaches or tools did you find useful?

d. Evaluation of All Potential Water Resources:

* 29. Does your state incorporate fit-for-use considerations (including the use of lesser quality water) and recommend such transitions for specific use sectors in your state water plan?

* 30. Does your state incorporate conjunctive use management of its surface and groundwater resources?

* 31. Does your state plan include water quantity and quality protection for future use

* 32. Does your state plan include unconventional water sources into its planning process (such as desalination, direct wastewater reuse, wastewater and storm-water injection)?

* 33. Were there other potential sources of water considered in the plan not listed above?

* 34. Does your State’s water planning consider water use in neighboring states?

Who Participates In Plan Development?

* 35. Did the planning process include the participation of various stakeholders (state government and others) in the plan development?

* 36. Please provide a description of state or local agencies, user groups, and special interest groups that participated in the plan development.

* 37. Who are/were the major stakeholders/participants in water planning in your state or specific geographic areas of your state (e.g. water authorities, river basin commissions, special interest groups, etc.)?

* 38. Does your planning process provide for general public education opportunities, public comment, or other methods for public input in the planning, approval, and/or implementation process?

Planning Outcomes

* 39. What would you consider the most significant finding or recommendation of recent planning efforts related to surface water?

* 40. What would you consider the most significant finding or recommendation of recent planning efforts related to groundwater?

* 41. How could you improve planning efforts? (or what lessons did you learn or how would you do it differently)

Plan Implementation

* 42. Summarize the types of new infrastructure needs identified in the plan for water supply by various use sectors such as public, industrial, agriculture, & energy.

* 43. Is there funding available to support these infrastructure needs (either public or private)?

* 44. Is there a mechanism for prioritization of the use of public funds based upon the plan?

* 45. Has your state water planning initiatives impacted your state’s water-related funding

* 46. How have planning efforts impacted water management decisions in your state?

* 47. Have anticipated needs, identified in previous plans, proven to be accurate?

* 48. Does your plan include water quantity allocations?

* 49. Please list other ways your state is implementing its water plan.

Resource Expansion

* 50. What water reuse and water storage needs were identified in the planning efforts? Examples might include municipal wastewater reuse, produced water (derived from oil and gas production and drilling activities) treatment and use, identification of marginal quality groundwater for non-potable uses, new reservoirs, enhanced (or managed) aquifer recharge, and aquifer storage and recovery.