On behalf of Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary David E. Hess today addressed the Pennsylvania Land Use Institute meeting in Carlisle, calling on local officials to support water-resources legislation to help update the state's water plan and identify critical water-planning areas.
"Water is one of our most precious resources, yet we know little about how much water we have and how it is used," Secretary Hess said. "With the severity of the drought in much of Pennsylvania this year, Mother Nature is giving us a critical opportunity to make deliberate, informed decisions about the future of the Commonwealth's water resources."
This year's Land Use Institute event is focusing on water resources in Pennsylvania and critical challenges facing the Commonwealth in planning to effectively manage, develop and protect those resources.
Secretary Hess told several dozen local elected and appointed officials attending the meeting that DEP will be working over the summer to reach a consensus on water-resources legislation with lawmakers, in the hope the bill can be voted on during the fall legislative session.
"The important thing for the Commonwealth in 2002 is that Pennsylvanians who care about our precious water resources support the need to make vital water-resource decisions for the future," Secretary Hess said. "At water forums all across Pennsylvania last year, hundreds of Pennsylvanians shared what they thought were the most critical water-resource issues."
Throughout April and May of last year, DEP held 15 water forums across the state to gain input from more than 1,700 citizens about their water-resource needs. That input is the basis of Gov. Schweiker's proposed water-resources legislative initiative, which would provide an historic opportunity to
-- Update the state water plan;
-- Identify Critical Water Planning Areas;
-- Promote voluntary water conservation; and
-- Improve stormwater management and establish private water-well standards.
The Pennsylvania Land Use Institute is a joint venture of the Governor's Center for Local Government Services, the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities and the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs.