Institute for Environmental Negotiation

Empowering communities to create shared solutions

Richmond Clean Water Plan is an initiative of the City of Richmond’s Department of Public Utilities to educate the community about ways to keep its waterways pollution-free, to achieve “cleaner water faster.”  The RVA H20 Clean Water Plan creates an integrated approach to wastewater, stormwater, and drinking water, bringing them together in one watershed management program, so that together, the City can achieve "cleaner water faster.” Integration of these three utilities creates a coordinate approach that hopes to eliminate redundant activities, increase efficiencies, and improve water resources overall.

To create the Clean Water Plan, the City of Richmond worked with key technical stakeholders who are knowledgeable about water quality issues over a two-year period. This effort is the first known time in the nation that a municipality is voluntarily developing an integrated water permit, and along with this, an integrated water resources management plan. The process was technically challenging, and numerous tools were developed to assist the stakeholders to provide meaningful input to the plan.

As the facilitator for the process, IEN worked with the City Department of Public UtilitiesWest Cary Group, and Limnotech to design the multi-year stakeholder engagement process in which the technical stakeholders identified key watershed goals, objectives, and strategies, and then prioritized watershed strategies and projects for implementation. The RVA H2O website offers a trove of information on the modeling and calculators, as well as the process of the stakeholder committee (“technical committee”), to develop the integrated water resources management plan.

With the Clean Water Plan completed, the City is now in the implementation phase. During this phase it will work to identify other city department plans, as well as partner efforts, that support the Clean Water Plan goals and strategies. The goal is to build what is already being done – so that the City can maximize its cost effectiveness and create a coordinated and synergistic approach to clean water. 

Photo courtesy of the West Cary Group