Part 1: Guidelines | IV. Drinking Water Assessment

Linking Water Supply with the Land Use Implementation Element in the WRE - Policies and Actions

​Once assessments of water supplies and infrastructure are complete, the WRE should outline how a jurisdiction will apply the findings. Implementation policies should clearly connect water adequacy findings to implementation policies, tools and actions. Implementation mechanisms may include existing, modified or new local ordinances or regulatory programs pertaining to water supply verification, land use, development pattern changes or limitations, capacity allocation, use authorization and protection. Possible policies and actions include the following:

1. Sustaining and Protecting Water Supplies:
  • ​Require the development and use of a Water Supply Capacity Management Plan for each community water system to support new allocations or connections to the system and to prevent capacity over allocation.
  • ​Deny allocations and/or connections to any system that would cause system capacity to exceed a set percentage of maximum capacity as determined by the CMP.
  • Establish and require watershed or wellhead protection around existing water supply sources. Review the state model wellhead protection ordinance for applicability to local jurisdictions. More information can be found at: MDE Wellhead Protection Program​.
  • Delineate and stage community water service areas in the land use element consistent with the ability of the water resource to support development based on population growth and development capacity analysis.
  • Design and implement open space and land preservation programs in a manner that will best serve water protection requirements. Include water resource protection as a criterion in the Land Preservation, Parks and Recreation Plan (LPPRP) and for individual developments within Forest Conservation Plans.
  • Examine source water protection opportunities and threats to drinking water supplies, including streams and their buffers, from development, runoff, pollution and other causes. Identify private or government actions that can be effective in protecting drinking water supplies.
  • In the land use implementation element, recommend programmatic or management practices such as buffering and setbacks needed to protect water resources from the impacts of development.
  • Use interjurisdictional/regional approaches as necessary and adopt or amend ordinances as necessary to protect water resources.
  • Create and implement drought management procedures and requirements.
  • Design and implement a rigorous water conservation program including routine water audits, water accounting and loss control procedures, water reuse initiatives, conservation rate structures and outreach programs.
2. Developing new water supplies:
  • ​Require new development to pay for the cost of providing water.
  • Insist on rigorous enforcement of existing laws that require zoning, plat approval and development approval be contingent upon a demonstration that water supplies are adequate to meet requested demands.
  • In the land use implementation element, reinforce the mandate in Environment Article Title 5, Subtitle 9 that:
    • ​Recommends that subdivision regulations or equivalent development ordinances include provisions requiring that site plan/subdivision plat submittals have documentation from an engineer or official notification from the appropriate municipal or county agency(ies) stating that adequate water either presently exists or will exist for all development depicted.
    • ​Requires that subdivision regulations or equivalent development ordinances contain language requiring the local approving authority, when reviewing development plans, to determine that sufficient water exists or will exist when needed for all development depicted on site plans/subdivision plats under consideration.
  • ​Establish future reservoir or watershed areas and the appropriate restrictions and/or protections to ensure water supply development can proceed at the designated future time period.
  • Evaluate regional solutions to future water supply capacity planning.
  • Conduct water availability studies for the jurisdiction and/or collaborate on regional or statewide studies of water availability.
Each of the previous items provides basic guidance for the County Water and Sewerage Plan and will help ensure that the plan is fully consistent with the comprehensive plan as required by law.

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