Pennsylvania DEP Secretary Participates in League of Women Voters Public Forum

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Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

'Are We Running Out of Water?'

On behalf of Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary David E. Hess has joined the League of Women Voters of Centre County to participate in their public forum, "Are we running out of water?" Secretary Hess stressed the need for new legislation to protect Pennsylvania's water resources.

"We are continually becoming more aware of how much water we have and how it is used," Secretary Hess said. "In order to protect this resource for the future, we need new legislation to update the state water plan, identify critical water planning areas, promote voluntary water conservation, improve stormwater management and establish private water well standards."

The forum provided an opportunity to gain an understanding of Pennsylvania's current and future water supply and what must be done to preserve it. The forum was free, and the public was invited to attend.

The Secretary was a part of a four-member panel that discussed water issues and answered questions from the audience.

Max Gill, executive director of the State College Borough Water Authority, and Rob Cooper, manager of engineering services at Penn State University, also were on the panel and represented the area's biggest water suppliers. They spoke on current conditions and future plans.

Todd Giddings, a hydrogeologist, summarized the stresses of growth, traffic and land use on our aquifer. He also spoke on the "Invisible Drought."

The forum was co-sponsored by the Spring Creek Watershed Commission, the Spring Creek Watershed Community and the ClearWater Conservancy.

"With the success of `Growing Greener,' we are challenged to forge ahead and address other water resource issues -- which is why we are looking to new legislation to provide a blueprint for future water resource plans," Secretary Hess said.

Throughout April and May, DEP held 15 water forums around the state to get input from citizens about their water resource needs. DEP is using the input provided by the more than 1,700 residents who attended the forums to find better ways to address their needs through meaningful water resources legislation and administrative changes.

To respond to these concerns, new legislation is being proposed to update the state water plan; identify critical water planning areas; create a water conservation program; manage stormwater in ways that promote groundwater recharge; and set water well construction standards.

For more information on water resources management in Pennsylvania, visit DEP through the PA PowerPort at www.state.pa.us, or directly at www.dep.state.pa.us (directLINK "water forums").

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