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Pennsylvania State Water Plan

The 2022 Pennsylvania State Water Plan (PDF), announced January 27, 2023, is intended to inform leaders’ decision making and educate all Pennsylvanians on sustainable use and stewardship of our lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater.

The DEP Water Use and Planning Section developed the Pennsylvania State Water Plan in collaboration with more than 100 water resources professionals who served on a statewide committee and six regional committees. It follows announcement of a draft version of the plan in August 2022 and public feedback.

At the state level, the plan recommends that 100 actions be continued, expanded on, or initiated in:

  • floodplain and stormwater management,
  • water withdrawal,
  • water efficiency,
  • legacy impacts from coal mining and oil and gas wells,
  • drinking water and wastewater treatment,
  • contaminants of emerging concern,
  • agricultural nonpoint source pollution, and
  • waterway navigability.

Because Pennsylvania is home to diverse hydrological, geological, and topographical regions, the plan divides Pennsylvania into six distinctive water planning regions: the Great Lakes, Upper/Middle Susquehanna, Lower Susquehanna, Potomac, Ohio, and Delaware river basins.

For each region, the plan identifies unique needs, such as better understanding of how land use affects water resources, climate change resiliency, headwater habitat protection, and others. Actions are recommended to meet these needs.

Image of the Digital Water Atlas

The Digital Water Atlas StoryMap is part of the 2022 State Water Plan. It presents data on statewide water resources and use trends and a wealth of other information.

You’ll find data on statewide water use from 2008 to 2020 for public drinking water supplies, power generation, industrial operations, fossil fuel extraction, commercial and institutional purposes, irrigation, livestock, and wastewater treatment. You’ll also find data on climate change impacts, Environment Justice areas for each of the six water planning regions, drought trends, and more.

Designed to be not only a planning tool, but also a research tool for academics and educational resource for students and the general public, the water atlas provides information on many other factors that may negatively or positively affect the quality and quantity of water resources in Pennsylvania. It’s intended to help Pennsylvanians understand where their water comes from and how it is affected by natural events and human activity--the first important step toward planning water use sustainability and stewardship.

Next Step: Plan Implementation

The next step for the State Water Plan, which is not regulatory, is development of a stakeholder education campaign. DEP and committee members plan to reach out to legislative, government, advocacy, and business leaders statewide with information on how they may implement the strategies and actions to benefit all members of their communities.

For more information on state water planning efforts and the implementation of this plan please email us at

Related Materials

Water Data

DEP has been collecting water use data from users on an annual basis. Search and explore Pennsylvania’s water use data through new applications that make it easy to find the water information you are looking for by accessing Water Reports.

Population Projection Data

Population data is an important component for estimating water supply demands. Access the links below to view DEP’s current population projection report.