Occoquan Shoreline Easement Policy – Fairfax Plans Increased Protection of Drinking Water Supply

When the Occoquan Reservoir was constructed in the 1950’s, the water company purchased property rights so it could control development on the shoreline.  

Fairfax Water, which now owns the reservoir, is updating the policy on how the utility will approve docks and other construction activities along the water’s edge.   

In the revision, Fairfax Water is getting more serious about protecting the buffer of natural vegetation on the shoreline.  Natural buffers intercept sediment and other pollution that might impact the reservoir, reducing the cost of producing clean drinking water for customers in Prince William and Fairfax. 

Almost all of the Fairfax County side of the reservoir is a thick natural buffer, protected as parkland.  The shoreline easement policy will affect primarily the houses built in Prince William, which rezoned land for development after the reservoir was completed.  (Aerial imagery clearly shows how the two counties shaped development differently along the shoreline.)

Almost all properties next to the reservoir in Prince William are affected by the 1950’s easement.  Where vegetation was removed from the shoreline easement area in violation of the Fairfax Water policy, landowners may be required to replant trees.  Revegetation will, over time, increase water quality by controlling runoff.  (Clearings created prior to February 5, 2004 still will be “grandfathered.”)

Comments on the updates to the Occoquan Shoreline Easement Policy are due no later than February 2.  A public hearing will be held at 6:30on on February 3, in the Fairfax Water Board Room (8570 Executive Park Avenue, Fairfax, Virginia).

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1 comment so far

  1. Kim Hosen on

    I’m glad to see Fairfax Water is getting serious about protecting the Occoquan Reservoir. It’s great for fishing and boating, beautiful to see and supplies about 45% of the clean drinking water for more than 1.7 million Northern Virginia residents. In Prince William, that’s about 20 million gallons of water every day.


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