DES Completes N.H. Water Resources Report

The N.H. Department of Environmental Services (DES) on Feb. 10 announced the completion of a wide-ranging report on the state's water resources.

"The New Hampshire Water Resources Primer" was prepared by DES and a group of stakeholders at the request of the Legislature's Water Resources Committee. The Primer is the first document that covers all of the water-related topics of importance to policy makers in New Hampshire.

Sen. Jacalyn Cilley, chair of the Water Resources Committee, stated, "New Hampshire is fortunate in its abundance of high quality water resources. But we face a number of significant challenges as we plan ahead for the sustainable management of our water resources." Those challenges include population and economic growth and associated land development, climate change, aging water-related infrastructure, and a lack of data about the state's water resources and their use.

Cilley also described two other major elements that will help the committee move ahead with the process of developing a Water Resources Plan. The first is a survey of legislators and local elected officials regarding water resources issues, recently published by the UNH Survey Center and Weston and Sampson for DES. The second is an analytical tool for the comparison of water demand and water availability, currently being developed by N.H. Geological Survey, building on work done by the U.S. Geological Survey. This tool will enable the identification of areas where water demand is expected to be greater than the available water. All three projects were made possible by a federal grant awarded to New Hampshire in 2005 and have been completed or are being performed at little to no cost to the state.

Rep. Judith Spang, a member of the Water Resources Committee, said, "Between the Primer and the Water Resources Survey, we now have a collection of critical information about water resources issues, programs, and future needs, and about the perceptions and opinions of state and local decision makers."

She noted that DES is planning a series of public presentations and listening sessions throughout the state as the next step in the process.

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