• water resources planning;
  • water demand;
  • demographic projections;
  • demand forecasting;
  • resource adequacy analysis;
  • Potomac River;
  • consumptive use


The three largest water utilities in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area (WMA) rely on the Potomac River and its reservoirs for water supply. These utilities have committed to a periodic review of the system's adequacy to meet future demands. In 1990, 1995, 2000, and again in 2004 (for publication in 2005) the utilities requested that the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB) conduct a 20-year water demand and resource adequacy study to fulfill this need. The selection of the five-year interval provides multiple benefits. It allows regular updates and incorporation of recent demographic forecasts, and it increases visibility and understanding of the adequacy of the region's water resources. It also provides adequate time to conduct research on the physical system and to incorporate modifications based on this research into subsequent studies. The studies and lessons learned are presented in this case study of the WMA. The work has been a natural outgrowth of a long history of cooperative water supply planning and management among the main WMA water utilities and ICPRB.