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Richmond, Virginia Combines Sustainable Environmental Practices, Beautification and History to Create a Premier Livable Urban Environment

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This paper presents the City of Richmond's successful work on the James River watershed in the metropolitan area of Richmond, Virginia. The City's stewardship during the last half century coupled with regulatory and economic drivers have been the impetus of multiple programs that that provide public health, environmental and economic benefits to the James River watershed. This paper puts together the City's programs with a vision to develop a plan for the watershed of the future. Emphasis has been placed on the integration of sustainable practices to benefit the environment and to support a population shift back to the City.

Richmond's journey through the second half of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century to improve the James River has been a very exiting one. Led by the Department of Public Utilities (DPU), the City of Richmond has taken a holistic approach to the James River. This approach encompasses: control of its Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) system, control of urban stormwater, protection of the in-stream flows, use of the James River for regional water supply, and urban beautification with the recreation of an historic riverfront canal, thus, creating opportunities for economic development on a livable urban environment for the City of the future.

On water supply, the City of Richmond has sufficient water source and treatment capacity to satisfy its citizen and wholesale customers' needs through 2060. However, the region has shown unprecedented growth and may experience a water supply shortage in the near future. The City developed a regional water supply plan and proposed solutions to address the limited water resources. The City is committed to its role of vital water supplier to serve the region by working cooperatively with neighboring jurisdictions. The wise use of water, water harvesting techniques for stormwater, reuse, and brackish water desalinization could also become potential alternative water sources. These, together with integrated water resource planning in the central Virginia area watershed, will reduce the stress on the region's water supply.
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Keywords: Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO); Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL); in-stream water quality; urban beatification; water supply; watershed

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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