DVRPC has included water quality and quantity in its comprehensive planning for almost the Commission's entire existence. In the 1970s, DVRPC carried out 208 Plans, so named for Section 208 of the Clean Water Act, which required water quality management plans where there were complex water pollution problems. In the 1980s, DVRPC assumed responsibility for administering Pennsylvania's Coastal Zone Management Program in the Delaware Estuary. In 1995, DVRPC's long-range plan for the Year 2020 contained, for the first time, a detailed proposed open space network that was largely based on the stream corridors throughout the region. And throughout the last 15 years, DVRPC engaged in watershed management planning efforts in New Jersey and conducted over 50 municipal-based environmental planning projects, most of which focus on understanding environmental resources, protecting open space, and improving environmental protection ordinances. All of these past and present activities have the potential to improve water quality, reduce flooding, and provide stormwater management benefits in communities and throughout the region.
DVRPC administers PA DEP's Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program in the Delaware Estuary. The CZM Program makes grants annually for planning, education, research and project implementation. Through CZM funding, DVRPC also administers the Urban Waterfront Action Group (UWAG), which provides early feedback to project sponsors seeking waterfront development permits from pertinent regulatory agencies.
Funded by the William Penn Foundation, DVRPC will conduct the Water Table project from the summer of 2020 through the summer of 2021. The goal of this project is to build a stronger foundation for a larger, more diverse, resourceful and impactful coalition of partners with a common mission to improve water quality in sustained, long-term relationships.
From January 2018 - December 2021, DVRPC staff will convene a Data and GIS Work Group for the Delaware River Watershed, which stretches across four states and provides drinking water to over 15 million people. The group will prioritize data needs, share knowledge, expand capacity, and collaborate to provide technical mapping, modeling, and spatial analysis assistance to the William Penn Foundation's Delaware River Watershed Initiative (DRWI).
In 2015, the William Penn Foundation awarded DVRPC a grant to collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders working in the Delaware River watershed in order to identify which types of technical assistance and support are most effective in helping municipalities implement water conservation tools and practices, and where they would best be deployed.
Beginning in 2018, DVRPC began implementing actions, developed in partnership with a panel of water quality and municipal planning experts, that are intended to help municipalities protect and improve local water quality. This work supports the Delaware River Watershed Initiative, a project of the William Penn Foundation.