The Water Resources Planning Act, Act 220 of 2002, requires the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PaDEP) to update the State Water Plan by 2008. As part of this update, a water-analysis screening tool (WAST) was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the PaDEP, to provide assistance to the state in the identification of critical water-planning areas. The WAST has two primary inputs: net withdrawals and the initial screening criteria. A comprehensive water-use database that includes data from registration, estimation, discharge monitoring reports, mining data, and other sources was developed as input into the WAST. Water use in the following categories was estimated using water-use factors: residential, industrial, commercial, agriculture, and golf courses. A percentage of the 7-day, 10-year low flow is used for the initial screenings using the WAST to identify potential critical water-planning areas. This quantity, or initial screening criteria, is 50 percent of the 7-day, 10-year low flow for most streams. Using a basic water-balance equation, a screening indicator is calculated that indicates the potential influences of net withdrawals on aquatic-resource uses for watersheds generally larger than 15 square miles. Points representing outlets of these watersheds are colored-coded within the WAST to show the screening criteria for each watershed.
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USGS Numbered Series
Development of the water-analysis screening tool used in the initial screening for the Pennsylvania State Water Plan update of 2008