WRMP - Strategic Water Resources Areas

There’s a lot of ground to cover in Pocahontas County, and a lot of water too. Strategic Water Resource Areas (SWRA) are built into this to plan to distinguish priority areas for implementation and future planning efforts.

There are four different reasons an area may be designated as a SWRA:

    • groundwater vulnerability is high in the watershed (i.e.: groundwater resources in this area are highly susceptible to contamination)
    • all or part of the watershed is a designated source water protection area (i.e. water resources from this watershed are used for a public drinking water supply)
    • there are existing or future planning efforts, such as a watershed-based plan, within the watershed (i.e. there is or will likely be an active watershed organization, watershed based plan, or other water plan(s) or program(s) in this watershed )
    • the safe yield of available water resources within the watershed is being exceeded or threatened to be exceeded (i.e.: the demand is outweighing the water supply or there is a threat this will soon become the case)
  • Not all SWRAs will require special attention or efforts. However, when action is necessary to maintain or improve the water resources within a SWRA, a Strategic Water Resource Plan (SWRP) may be developed. SWRPs will lay out an action plan for monitoring, maintaining, and/or improving the water resources.

    As part of the WRMP, initial reports on SWRAs in the county were completed. These reports identify, map out, and summarize areas which meet the criteria to be designated as SWRAs. Click on the links below to access downloadable pdf versions of these reports.

    Safe Yield

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    Currently, safe yield is not being exceeded in any watershed in Pocahontas County. The large quantity users in the county consume less than 1% of the safe yield for the annual values, and less than 2% of safe yield values in the summer. The only exception to this is in the Stony Creek basin, which contains the Edray Fish Hatchery. Even if this basin, however, the water consumed is only 5.4% of the annual groundwater safe yield and 17.63% of summer groundwater safe yield.

    There are eight HUC-12 watersheds in the county which contain large quantity water users (those consuming more than 750,000 gallons/month, as defined by the WV DEP). All eight of these basins are considered SWRAs as it is prudent to continue to monitor demand on water resources in these areas. Although there have been no exceedances of either surface water or groundwater safe yield, safe yield values are cumulative for entire basins. Thus, there is still potential for water shortfalls in individual streams or groundwater aquifers, particularly during times of drought. Increases in water consumption or additional water users should be monitored to maintain safe water withdrawals within each of these basins.

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    Source Water Protection

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    Source water areas are delineated areas of land which contribute water (surface water and/or groundwater) to a public drinking water supply. Although source waters are treated prior to public consumption, it is still imperative to protect these areas and the water resources therein.

    Within Pocahontas County, there are seven source water areas (which include both surface and groundwater) identified by the state as part of the Source Water Assessment Program (SWAP). The SWAP identifies potential sources of pollution and rates the susceptibility of the source water area to pollution, and creates a source water assessment report for each area. This report can then be expanded to create an in-depth source water protection plan, to determine action plans to minimize the potential of contamination of the water source.

    The source water areas in Pocahontas County are designated as SWRAs due to the importance of protecting public drinking water supplies. This report discusses the groundwater vulnerability, the surface water vulnerability, and land use within each source water area. The results from the SWAP reports are outlined as well.

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    Groundwater Protection

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    Three HUC-12 watersheds in Pocahontas County have been identified as SWRAs due to groundwater vulnerability. These are the Stamping Creek-Greenbrier River basin, the Stony Creek Basin, and the Headwaters Deer Creek basin.

    The Stamping Creek-Greenbrier River (Stamping Creek) basin is located in southern Pocahontas County. The 36,000 acre watershed includes the main stem of the Greenbrier River and its tributaries. The watershed contains the town of Hillsboro, and the groundwater source area for its drinking water supply. The Stamping Creek watershed is only 4% developed and 77% forested. Pasture accounts for about 16% of the overall watershed.

    Within the Stamping Creek watershed, groundwater vulnerability is moderate, with 20% classified as highly vulnerable. However, groundwater vulnerability is much higher within the source water area for the town of Hillsboro, with 72% of the area classified as highly vulnerable. Stony Creek also flows into the Greenbrier River, just north of the town of Marlinton. Almost 18% of the basin area is classified as having highly vulnerable groundwater. The area has high protective function but medium classification of flow pathways to groundwater. While there are no major communities within the basin, the areas with the highest groundwater vulnerability are in areas of pasture/hay or cultivated crops, which makes up 13% of the area in the basin.

    Deer Creek flows into the Greenbrier River downstream of the town of Cass. Over 12% of the basin is classified as having high groundwater vulnerability. This area, unlike the other watersheds highlighted in this document, does not have karst geology that provides direct pathways to groundwater. However, the vulnerability is still elevated from other factors.

    Within the Deer Creek watershed, areas of high hazard (cultivated crops and pasture/hay) overlap areas that have low protective functions (shallow depth to groundwater) and high groundwater risk (soils that allow direct infiltration on high permeability formations). The town of Arbovale is located within the basin, but the concentration of high groundwater vulnerability is mostly related to cultivated crops and pasture/hay land around and north of Arbovale.

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