WRMP - Assessment Tools

As part of the water resources management planning process, several tools were developed and employed to assess the county’s water resources. The Phase I Water Resources Assessment was published in February 2012 and is the result of the initial evaluation of the county’s waters. As part of this undertaking, all existing data on county water resources was aggregated for the first time. This data is now amassed in one database, offered for free download from this page. In addition, analyses of this data were used to evaluate the state of water resources in Pocahontas County. The reports, data, and analytical models, which calculate safe yield, vulnerability, septic density, etc., are the Assessment Tools provided in this plan. Click on the links below to access downloadable pdf documents and downloadable databases, and visit the mapping tool on this site to experiment with these Assessment Tools yourself.

Phase 1 Report (Water Resources Assessment)

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The purpose of this study is to evaluate and assess the water resources—surface and groundwater—of Pocahontas County, West Virginia. To this end, available water quality and quantity data were collected from various sources and analyzed to understand the present water resource conditions.

This initial assessment provides baseline information – the necessary foundation for the development of the WRMP. County citizens, businesses, and agencies can use the information presented in this report as a planning and evaluation tool.

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Summary and Methods Documents

Summary & Methods Documents - The creation of Pocahontas County’s Water Resources Management Plan (WRMP) required a significant amount of analysis and reporting. These Summary & Methods Documents explain the scientific methodology and provide context for the data and maps utilized and developed for the WRMP.

Safe Yield

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Safe yield is commonly defined as the maximum, sustainable, continuous withdrawal that can be made from a water source. Safe yield can be determined for both surface water and groundwater resources. The State of West Virginia further clarifies this definition by stating that:

    • the protection of aquatic habitats should be a consideration in safe yield calculations,
    • safe yield defines safety, but provides no indication of risk to the resource, and
    • safe yield does not consider the cumulative impact of consumptive use.

  • In its original context with reservoirs, a representative definition of safe yield is “the maximum quantity of water that can be guaranteed from a reservoir during a critical dry period” (Sophocleous, 1998). After the concept was extended to apply to groundwater aquifers, a representative definition is “the attainment and maintenance of a long-term balance between the amount of ground-water withdrawn annually and the annual amount of recharge” (Sophocleous, 1998).

    Safe yield is calculated for individual watersheds within Pocahontas County to determine appropriate values for each area. Both surface water and groundwater resources are critical to the overall health and sustainability of the many rivers flowing out of Pocahontas County; because both types of water resources are unique, safe yield is assessed and quantified separately for each water resource.

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    Surface and Groundwater Vulnerability

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    Both surface water and groundwater resources are critical to the overall health and sustainability of Pocahontas County’s citizens, environment, and economy; because both types of water resources are unique, vulnerability is assessed and quantified separately for surface water and groundwater.

    The vulnerability analyses contained in this document seek to determine areas where groundwater and surface water are most susceptible to contamination based on risks and hazards. Groundwater risks include soil thickness and permeability, flow routes, and karst areas. Surface water risks include slope and proximity to streams. Hazards for both groundwater and surface water include land use/land cover, septic system density, and proximity to roads. Areas that have high risk values and high hazard values are particularly vulnerable to contamination.

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    Floodplain Management and Septic System Assessment

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    Pocahontas County has programs that manage and permit both development in the floodplain and residential wastewater treatment systems. Both of these programs are implemented by the county. The county sanitarians oversee siting, permitting, inspecting, and designing of septic systems across the county. The county and municipal floodplain managers review and issue permits for construction in the floodplains.

    Part of the water resources management planning process included an assessment of septic failure rates across the county, which can help prioritize areas for replacing septic systems or extending wastewater service. The floodplain assessment builds upon the West Virginia Water Resources Protection and Management Act that requires, “an assessment of floodplain and stormwater management problems”.

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    WRMP Methodology

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    The State of West Virginia completed its first water resources management plan (WRMP) in November 2013 as mandated by the Water Resources Protection and Management Act of 2008. Pocahontas County’s WRMP was developed pursuant to West Virginia Code -§22-26-9 (f) & (g), which state that a county may enter into an agreement with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) to develop a local plan that will be filed as part of the state water resources management plan (WRMP). It is the belief of the Pocahontas County Water Resources Task Force (WRTF) that the community will be best served by creating its own WRMP—one tailored to and created by the people of Pocahontas County (more info on the WRTF can be found in Appendix B).

    A process was implemented with the WVDEP to ensure this plan would meet the WV State requirements and would be filed as part of the state WRMP. Downstream Strategies (DS) and the WRTF coordinator met with the WVDEP in 2012 to discuss Pocahontas County’s approach to meeting the legislative requirements. Discussion revolved around the project timeline, presentation and approval of our methods, and the intent to share data. Presented in this document are the methods and results to meet the requirements outlined in West Virginia Code §22-26.

    This document presents the results for each state planning requirement that was presented to the WVDEP in 2012, listed in Table 1. This report brief is meant to communicate the methods and results that were employed in the creation of the WRMP. Pocahontas County’s WRMP was filed as Appendix A to West Virginia’s Water Resources Management Plan in November 2013.

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    Two new databases were created as part of the Pocahontas County WRMP and are available for free download here.

    Water Quality Database: requires Microsoft Access

    - open them in alternative CSV or PDF files -

    Geodatabase: requires ARC GIS

    - open them in alternative KML files -