ORSANCO's mission and current direction

Defining ORSANCO’s Role in
Water Resources Management
Who/What is ORSANCO
 Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission
 an interstate pollution control agency
 Powers derived by 1948 Compact signed by state
governors and approved by Congress
 Consists of representatives from eight states (6
main stem states, NY and VA) and the federal
Mission of ORSANCO
 Implement the Compact through direct action and
coordination of state activities
 Wastes discharged in one state shall not
“injuriously affect” the waters of another state
 Compact authorizes Commission to adopt rules,
regulations and standards
 3/state (Governor appointed); 3 federal (President
appointed) – Total 27
 One of state’s commissioners is state EPA director
 One federal is EPA regional administrator
(longstanding practice)
 Mix is 1/3 State/Fed Agency & 2/3 other
Full-time staff – 23
Annual Funding for
Operations (Base Budget):
States - $1.4 M*
Fed. - $1.4 M
$2.8 M
HQ – Cincinnati
•State funding levels are set by the
Commission and prorated per
proportionate land mass and
population in the drainage
 Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment
 Biological Studies
 Pollution Control Standards
 Spill Detection and Notification
 Organics Detection System
 Public Information and Education
 Water Resources
•Mission (per the Compact) has been
focused on water pollution abatement
• But, to some extent, water quantity (i.e.
resources) is an inherent interest (e.g. 7Q10
for NPDES Permitting
ORSANCO and Water Resources (cont’)
 Questions from time-to-time why are
there two organizations( ORSANCO
&Ohio River Basin Commission)
 Growing importance of integrating
quality and quantity management
 Droughts and shortages…not just a “west
of the Mississippi” issue anymore
 Need for an Ohio River Basin
organization with powers/authority to
regulate inter –basin transfers of water
• February 2009 Strategic Planning Workshop
• Outcome….ORSANCO should become more
“holistic” in its services to the states
•Task Force formed to evaluate options
•June, 2010, Task Force recommended change in
ORSANCO’s Bylaws to establish a new standing
Water Resources Committee
ORSANCO Committees
Commission Staff*
Legal Counsel
Standing Committees
Special Committees
Program Advisory Committees
Congressional Liaison
Biological Water Quality
Stream Quality Criteria
Monitoring Strategy
Program & Finance
Water Quality Review
Advisory Committee
Registry of Distinguished
Water Users
ORSANCO/Ohio River
Users Program
Public Interest
Public Information
Special Project
Steering Committees
305b Report Coordinators
Emergency Response
Nonpoint Source Strategy Implementation
Combined Sewer Overflow Program
Biocriteria Development
Publicly Owned
Treatment Works
Power Industry
Commission Staff provides liaison
to each Committee, Subcommittee
or Workgroup including meeting
arrangements and secretarial
Water Resources Committee
 Bylaws
“…shall serve to provide counsel and direction to the
Commission and shall study, discuss and evaluate
water resources issues of concern or interest to the
Commission and basin states.
 Leadership
 Chaired by Ron Potesta
 ORSANCO Commissioner
 Former Director of WV DNR
 Must be financially self supporting as present
ORSANCO Charter allows funding only for water
quality related programs
Role of Water Resources Committee
 Will guide the Commission in defining role in
water resources management
 Develop and implement Commission’s water resources
 Provides forum for states to discuss water
resources issues
 The Committee will set its own agenda based on
the collective needs of its member states
Status of Membership
 Membership open to:
 All Basin States (14)
 US Army Corps of Engineers
 US Geological Survey
 Committee may recommend additional parties
 Current members:
New York
West Virginia
Tennessee Valley
US Army Corps of US Geological Survey
Additional Members?
 Discussions ongoing with remaining states
encouraging participation
 Anticipate new members in near future
 Illinois – budgetary issues and management turnover
 North Carolina? – current budgetary constraints
prohibit out-of-state travel
 Additional federal agencies?
 Tennessee Valley Authority (Added in 2011)
 Natural Resources Conservation Service
First Meeting – February 9, 2011
 Set operating parameters (e.g. frequency of
 Identified common water resources program needs
and priorities among states and federal agencies
 Water allocation
 Drought and flood management
 Maintaining minimum flows for aquatic life
 Need for framework to address inter-basin withdrawals
First Meeting (cont’)
 Identified three additional agencies for consideration
for inclusion on the Committee
 Held initial discussion regarding Commission’s water
resources options
 Work through Committee within existing Compact
 Pursue Governors Memorandum of Understanding
 Amend Compact to include water resources authorities
 First charge is to consider the desirability, content and
timing of Governors MOU
Second Water Resource Meeting
 Held in Pittsburgh in June 2011-funded by Benedum
 Nationally recognized water resource experts present
 Discussion of status of each states’ Water Resource
Program and their priority issues
 Discussion seeking Foundation funding of ORSANCO
Water Resource effort
Recent ORSANCO Water Resource
 Request funding from Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and
Cincinnati Foundations to carry out a three year effort
 Received commitments for $315,000 of Foundation funding
with additional $85,000 grant pending
 Established three year grant framework/schedule for
“Building ORSANCO’s Capacity to Address the Water
Resources Needs in the Ohio River Basin”
 Developed Memorandum of Understanding for signature
by Governors of the member states supporting and
endorsing ORSANCO’s Water Resources efforts
 Fall 2011 ORBWRA ( ORBC) disbands and members are
transitioned into the Water Resources Committee
ORSANCO Water Resources Grant
 1) Complete studies to characterize the water resource
management needs in the Ohio River Basin
 2) Provide operational support to the C0mmission’s
Water Resources Committee
 3) Provide travel support for consultation visits with
state agencies and other relevant parties to define the
appropriate role for ORSANCO to facilitate effective
management of water resources in the Basin.
Memorandum of Understanding
would authorize
 Investigate, study, and review water related problems
and issues in the Ohio Basin
 Provide forum for Ohio Basin states to study, discuss
and develop regional policies on common interstate
water resource issues
 Assist in providing training related to water resources
for state officials in the Basin
 Coordinate water resource planning in the Ohio Basin
and to encourage coordinated and cooperative action
by the Basin states in water resource management
MOU Authorizations con’t.
 Provide representation of the regional interests of the
Ohio River Basin before Congress and federal agencies
responsible for planning and management of water
resources of the Basin (using Ohio River Congressional
Water Resource Activities needing
amendment to ORSANCO Charter
 The regulation of water withdrawal as requested and
conferred by individual states, establish guidelines,
protocols and regulations for intrastate withdrawals
 Where an “emergency” situation is deemed to exist,
establish temporary regulations
 Establish regulatory authority related to inter-basin
transfers, including regulatory authority to recover, for
the benefit of the member states, the economic value
of the water being transferred out of the basin
 Establish an overall program for effective management
of water resources in the Ohio River Basin
“When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water”
Ben Franklin
DRCB and SRBC Authorizations
 •Susquehanna River Basin Compact,
 •Delaware River Basin Compact,
 32 P.S. §815.101 et seq.(1961)
 Project review triggered by
withdrawals of
 100,000 GPD or more (ground or
surface water)
 Southeast (PA) Groundwater
Protected Area:
 Groundwater withdrawals of 10,000
GPD or more
 32 P.S. §820.1 et seq.(1970)
 Project review triggered by
withdrawals of 100,000 GPD or
more (ground or surface water) or
 Consumptive uses of 20,000 GPD or
 Municipal regulation of water
withdrawals preempted by SRBC, if
 Levin v. Benner Township, 669 A.2d
 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1995), aff.689 A.2d 224
(Pa. 1997)
 A Short Review of Pennsylvania
 Water Law
 Presented by
 Pamela Bishop, Assistant Counsel
 Bureau of Regulatory Counsel
 Office of Chief Counsel
 PA Department of Environmental Protection
 February 2006
 Access and Allocation of Water in Pennsylvania
This 20-page publication provides an overview of water
rights for citizens, farmers, rural business owners, and
elected and appointed officials. It introduces the legal
background, terms, and issues about water rights. The
discussion is introductory and does not provide legal
advice regarding water rights conflicts, nor is it a substitute
for advice from a qualified lawyer.
Department: Agricultural Economics & Rural Sociology
Catalog Number: UA445
 View PDF
How to Order
River Basin Approaches to Water Management in the Mid-Atlantic States
Interstate conflict over water resources is growing in the Mid-Atlantic region.
As population increases and industries and energy sources shift, water becomes
in greater demand. This publication was written to give readers an
understanding of river basin commissions and other regional water
management institutions, their powers, and stakeholders; basinwide water
management issues; and how stakeholders can more effectively participate in
these bodies’ decisions. Highlighted are five emerging water management
concerns: (1) out-of-basin diversions and population growth, (2) shale gas
extraction, (3) climate change, (4) aquatic invasive species, and (5) improving
water quality in Chesapeake Bay. Photos are included.
Department: Agricultural Economics & Rural Sociology
Catalog Number: UA466
 View PDF
How to Order
 Fish and Boat Commission suggests charging for river
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Similar program
There is precedent for a program that would charge for industrial use of public water.
John Arway, executive director of the Fish and Boat Commission, pointed out that the state already collects a fee from dredgers that pull sand and gravel from the river bottoms in Western
"It's a common property of all the people," he said.
It's not a stretch to think that companies should likewise pay for water from those rivers, he said.
About the writer
Bob Frye is the Tribune-Review outdoors editor. He can be reached at 724-838-5148 or via e-mail.
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You can lead a horse to water, but can you make him pay for it?
That's something the executive director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission figuratively is asking.
While delivering the commission's annual report to the House of Representatives Game and Fisheries Committee at the state Capital in Harrisburg, John Arway suggested that lawmakers should start
charging industry for the water it takes from the state's rivers and streams.
Right now, that's not happening.
The Susquehanna River Basin Commission charges industry about 27 cents per 1,000 gallons of water from that river, or just enough to replace what's removed; the Delaware River Basin Commission
charges about 8 cents per 1,000 gallons, Arway said. No one regulates who takes water out of the Ohio River drainage, nor does anyone pay to replace it.
The commission itself makes a little money by selling water. It's getting $5 per 1,000 gallons taken from Donegal Lake in Westmoreland County. The water is being purchased by a Marcellus Shale deepwell driller.
But beyond that, the state is letting industry take its water for free. That's the way things have been for a long time, Arway added.
"Shallow-well gas drillers in the Allegheny National Forest have been pulling all of the water for their operations from our rivers for decades without paying a penny for it. Farmers do the same," Arway
said. "Anyone with a tanker truck can pull up to our water and take what they want without the commonwealth getting a thing for it."
That's not the way things work elsewhere, he said. In the West — where water is a scarce commodity — industry routinely pays for water, he said. If Pennsylvania started doing the same, it could reap
tens of millions of dollars in benefits, if not more.
Lawmakers on the committee expressed some interested in the idea, though it's clear a lot of specifics would have to be worked out.
Rep. John Evans, the Crawford County Republican who serves as majority chairman of the committee, asked how money generated from selling water should be allocated. His first impression seemed to
be that Arway was asking for the commission to get all of the money.
"Shouldn't the commonwealth receive the funds because the water belongs to it?" Evans asked.
That is indeed the case, Arway said. He said he would expect that lawmakers would decide how to allocate that money, with some going to townships for repair of bridges over streams and rivers, some
going to water treatment facilities — and some going to the Fish and Boat Commission, because anglers and boaters use the waterways from which the water is being taken.
Exactly who should get money and in what proportion is something the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee could determine, he suggested.
"It's unlimited, how this could be constructed," Arway said.
Whether there's any interest in the idea may become clear soon. Arway said he will be "going on the road" to talk about the idea with constituents — from sportsmen to lawmakers — in the near future.
"It's a message we want to get out and see how it resonates," Arway said.
More Outdoors headlines
 Some think commission should oversee Ohio River Basin
Sunday, July 25, 2010
click to enlarge
River traffic
Keith Hodan | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Basin commissions at a glance
River basin commissions have worked on water-related issues within the east half of Pennsylvania for at least 40 years. The organizations
deal with issues such as water quality and supply, flood control and drought management.
• The Delaware River Basin Commission was formed in 1961, by Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, New Jersey and the federal government.
Headquartered in West Trenton, N.J., the basin commission oversees water resources in an area covering 13,539 square miles, more than half
of which are located in Pennsylvania, running from Hancock, N.Y., to Delaware Bay. Its annual budget is $6.2 million.
• The Susquehanna River Basin Commission was formed in 1970, by Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York and the federal government.
Headquartered in Harrisburg, the commission oversees water resources in an area covering 27,510 square miles, stretching from Otsego Lake
near Cooperstown, N.Y., to Chesapeake Bay. Its annual budget is $11.5 million.
A forum for water issues
Forming an Ohio River Basin Commission isn't a new idea. President Richard M. Nixon and the governors of 11 states believed in the need for
a commission, with the organization established by Presidential Executive Order in January 1971.
The Ohio River Basin dwarfs many of the country's river basins. It covers 204,000 square miles in all or portions of 15 states. Major tributaries
include the Allegheny, Monongahela and Beaver rivers in Pennsylvania, the Kanawha River in West Virginia, Muskingum River in Ohio,
Tennessee River in Kentucky, and the Wabash River on the Illinois-Indiana border.
The Ohio basin commission never had any regulatory authority, its original intent was to develop a plan for managing the basin's water and
related land resources. An executive order from President Ronald Reagan in 1981 revoked federal support for the commission because,
according to the federal government, its mission had been fulfilled.
"We would do the studies, we would do the legwork, then present our findings," said Larry Feazell, the organization's executive director and
lone employee, who joined the commission in 1980. Feazell's salary has been about half the commission's annual budget of about $100,000.
Since the early 1980s, the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky have continued to pay
membership dues -- $13,000 paid by Pennsylvania for the past two fiscal years. Through some fiscal maneuvering, Feazell said this year's dues
have been reduced to $9,000.
A year ago, the commission's name was changed to the Ohio River Basin Water Resources Association, to better reflect its purpose: to
provide a forum to discuss water-related issues, Feazell said.
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