The mission of the Chester County Water Resources Authority is to provide flood protection, reservoir water supplies, and water science, information and planning to the citizens of Chester County so that they may live in safe, healthy and prosperous communities that sustain the natural quality, quantity and biodiversity of the County's water resources.
The Authority was established in 1961 by the Chester County Board of Commissioners, under the PA Municipality Authorities Act, to implement the Brandywine Creek Watershed Workplan. From 1961 through 1994, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Authority led the local efforts to implement the plan through the planning and construction of five regional flood control facilities and two regional water supply reservoirs.
Today, the Authority continues to own and operate four regional flood control facilities (Hibernia, Struble, Beaver Creek and Barneston Regional Flood Control Facilities) and the Chambers Lake Reservoir. Marsh Creek Reservoir and Regional Flood Control Facility are now owned and operated by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources as part of Marsh Creek State Park. In addition to its flood control facilities, the Authority owns nearly 200 acres of adjoining riparian lands and easements and the 80-acre Chambers Lake Reservoir. Chambers Lake is a 383 million gallon water supply reservoir that is used to provide water for the greater Coatesville regional water supply system.
The planning and design of these watershed management facilities involved numerous water resources studies and monitoring activities. It was soon realized that these activities could also help address other water resources issues facing Chester County. Thus, the Authority began a partnership with U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in the early 1970s to provide reliable, relevant data and information on the quality and quantity of groundwater and streams in Chester County. Since then, USGS and Chester County have continued to build an extensive knowledge base of information that is now widely relied upon by many to understand the inter-relationships between the County's water resources and its land and water use and planning needs. Through its partnership with USGS and other partners, the Authority has ongoing programs to:
- Characterize and monitor the County's streams and ground water.
- Provide scientific data, investigations, and projects to address priority concerns.
- Provide reliable water resources information to municipalities, water users, and the public.
The goals, objectives and strategies presented in Watersheds were carried forward into PA Act 167 Stormwater Management planning for Chester County's watersheds. To date, PA Act 167 plans have been completed and approved for Chester Creek, Conestoga River, Crum Creek, Darby Creek and Valley Creek watersheds; and the Watersheds Plan has been incorporated into the Countywide Act 167 Plan for all remaining watersheds of Chester County. Watersheds also provides the foundation of planning principles and strategies being used by the Authority and others in developing the Christina River Basin TMDL Implementation Plan and other initiatives to implement TMDLs and improve the water quality of "impaired" streams in Chester County.
Flood Protection — The purpose of the Flood Protection program is to provide flood protection, flood monitoring, and emergency response information and planning to citizens and communities so they may experience reduced flood risks, reduced financial and property losses, and increased public safety. The goal of this program is for Chester County citizens and communities to benefit from improved flood protection and mitigation.
In addition to owning, operating and maintaining four regional flood control facilities, the Authority works with other agencies and municipalities in flood protection, response and mitigation. This includes working with municipalities to explore potential solutions to these concerns, and utilizing available technology to maintain the automated early flood alert system within the Brandywine Creek watershed.
Stormwater and Water Quality Improvement — the purpose of the Stormwater and Water Quality Improvement program is to provide technical guidance, watershed planning, and water quality measurement services to the general public, business interests, and local governments so that they may take effective actions to reduce stormwater runoff and improve the water quality of Chester County streams and groundwater resources. The goal of this program is for Chester County citizens and communities to benefit from reduced impacts from stormwater and pollution runoff.
The Authority works closely with municipalities and other agencies to advance the understanding and effectiveness of stormwater management practices to reduce runoff and its impacts on our streams and communities. The Authority also conducts studies, investigations and planning, such as PA Act 167 stormwater studies, the Christina Basin Clean Water Partnership and TMDL implementation efforts, to reduce stormwater runoff and nonpoint source pollution.
Sustainable Water Resources Management — The purpose of the Sustainable Water Resources Management program is to provide reservoir water supplies, stream flow management, and planning, coordination and technical assistance services to affected citizens, communities, businesses, organizations and/or agencies so that they may ensure adequate and sustainable water supplies and natural resources for Chester County citizens and communities. The goal of this program is for Chester County citizens and communities to benefit from sustainable natural resources and water supplies to support desired growth and quality of life.
The Authority operates and manages Hibernia Dam and Chambers Lake Reservoir to provide source waters for Pennsylvania American Water Company's regional water supply system that serves the greater Coatesville area of Chester County. In addition to operating Chambers Lake reservoir, the Authority works with other agencies and municipalities in water supply and sustainability issues. The Authority serves as a regional coordinator for flow management issues in the Brandywine Creek watershed. Chester County's 21 watersheds flow downstream to five counties in Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Thus, numerous federal, state, county, and local governments, water users, and watershed conservation organizations are keenly interested and involved in water resources issues in the County. The Authority represents the County in coordinating with these entities on matters that affect the County's water resources and its communities.
Water Information and Outreach — the purpose of the Water Information and Outreach activity is to provide information, materials, events, web portals, and services to the public, primarily through municipalities and conservation organizations, so that they may understand the human impacts on the quality and quantity of natural water resources and aquatic habitats. The goal of this program is for Chester County citizens and communities to benefit from improved water information and outreach for making informed individual and community water use and land use decisions.
The Authority provides water resources information and publications to assist municipalities and others in understanding and integrating water resources management within local land use and water resources decision-making. Through cooperative programs with USGS, the Authority provides reliable data and information describing current and historic hydrologic and water quality conditions to assist municipalities and others to understand the severity of drought and flood conditions and to understand and reduce the impacts of land management activities on the water quality of the County's streams and groundwater.
Our Flood Control and Reservoir Projects
The Authority owns and operates four regional flood control facilities and the Chambers Lake Reservoir (see map) in the Brandywine Creek watershed:
Robert G. Struble, Sr. Dam and Regional Flood Control Facility
- Location - East Branch Brandywine Creek, Honey Brook Township
- Year Completed - 1970
- Total Flood Storage Capacity - 191 million gallons
Beaver Creek Regional Flood Control Facility
- Location - Beaver Creek (East Branch Brandywine Creek watershed), West Brandywine and East Brandywine Townships
- Year Completed - 1974
- Total Flood Storage Capacity - 170 million gallons
Barneston Regional Flood Control Facility
- Location - East Branch Brandywine Creek, Wallace Township
- Year Completed - 1983
- Total Flood Storage Capacity - 511 million gallons
Hibernia Regional Flood Control Facility
- Location - Birch Run (West Branch Brandywine Creek watershed), West Caln Township
- Year Completed - 1994
- Total Flood Storage Capacity - 257 million gallons
Chambers Lake Reservoir
- Location - Birch Run (West Branch Brandywine Creek watershed), West Caln Township
- Year Completed - 1994
- Total Water Supply Storage Capacity - 344 million gallons.
The Chester County Water Resources Authority is comprised of a nine member Board of Directors, each appointed by the Chester County Board of Commissioners for a term of five years. Members may be appointed for additional terms by the County Commissioners. The Authority's staff includes a team of five administrative and water resources professionals.
2017 Board of Directors pictured above (l to r): Lisa Donlon, Denis Newbold, Donald Welsh, Barbara D'Angelo, Caren Andrews, Sid Brookes (seated), Bob Struble, Rick Smith and Denny Howell. Photo courtesy of Chris Bittle, Chester County Planning Commission.
The Authority's 2017 Board of Directors are:
- Robert G. Struble, Jr., Chair is the Water Conservation Director at the Brandywine Red Clay Alliance, an organization that leads in protecting local watersheds and the environment, and is active in stream restoration efforts in the Brandywine and Red Clay watersheds. He also serves as Secretary/Treasurer for the Chester County Conservation District and is a Board member of Dockstader Foundation, which supports environmental activities in Southern Chester County through grants and scholarships. Mr. Struble is a resident of East Bradford Township. He joined the Board in 1994 and in that time has been Vice-Chair and Treasurer. He has served as Chair since 2015.
- A. Sidney Brookes, Jr., Vice Chair is a Registered Professional Engineer, and retired as an Engineering Fellow following 37 years with DuPont where he was involved in a variety of projects including design of facilities to manufacture intermediates for Nomex Nylon, a fire resistant fabric used by firefighters, race car drivers, and military pilots. He has also consulted to the development and operation of USP purified water systems. Mr. Brookes is a forty year resident of Pennsbury Township. He joined the Board in 2000 and has served in the capacity of Secretary and has been Vice-Chair since 2015.
- Lisa Donlon, Secretary is a Registered Professional Engineer in PA and DE and a Project Manager for VanDemark & Lynch, Inc. with over 25 years experience in commercial and residential development, recreational and “greening” projects in Chester County, Delaware and Maryland. She is a Board member and mentor for ACE Mentoring of Delaware, a volunteer group of architects, contractors and engineers that mentor and encourage high school students interested in careers associated with the construction industry. Ms. Donlon also serves as a volunteer judge for NAWIC Block Kids, which is a construction competition for students in grades 1-6. She is a resident of Landenberg, joined the Board in 2009 and has served as Secretary since 2015.
- Denny L. Howell, Treasurer is President and owner of D.L. Howell & Associates, Inc., and Howell Kline Surveying, LLC. He is the Founding Member and President of the Chester County Engineers, an organization dedicated to advancing the civil engineering profession and focuses on issues specific to Chester County. Mr. Howell is also a Board member of Chester County 2020 and a Board member of Handi-crafters, a non-profit supporting individuals with disabilities with employment and independence. His professional memberships include ASCE and the Main Line Builders. He is a life-long resident of Chester County. He joined the Chester County Water Resources Authority Board in 2009 and has served as Treasurer since 2015.
- Caren Andrews currently holds the position of Borough Manger/Secretary for Atglen Borough. She has spent her entire career working for small municipalities throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and while Borough Manager for Yeadon, Delaware County served as Board member and Treasurer for the Eastern Delaware County Stormwater (MS4) Collaborative. Ms. Andrews is a resident of West Chester and is the newest member of the Board, joining in 2017.
- Barbara D'Angelo worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 1975 until she retired in 2006. Currently, she is actively involved in the community, holding positions as Wallace Township Supervisor, Wallace Township Land Trust President, and Wallace Township Sewer Authority Chair. She also served on the Chester County Water Resources Task Force which developed “Watersheds,” part of the Chester County Comprehensive Plan. Ms. D’Angelo currently owns and operates a daycare facility for dogs. A resident of Glenmoore, she joined the Board in 1998 and in that time has served as Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary.
- Dr. Denis Newbold is a Research Scientist Emeritus at Stroud Water Research Center in Avondale, PA. His research interests center on riparian forest buffers and on the transport and cycling of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus in stream ecosystems. Mr. Newbold is also a member of the Penn Township Planning Commission and serves on the boards of the Southeastern Chester County Refuse Authority, the Elk Creeks Watershed Association, and the environmental organization, S.A.V.E. (Safety, Agriculture, Villages, and Environment, Inc.). He joined the Board in 1994 and has served as Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary.
- Louis F. "Rick" Smith, Jr. started working for East Goshen Township in 1969 as a laborer, and has been Township Manager since 1987. In addition, he has served as President of the Chester County Managers Consortium. Mr. Smith served on the Chester County Water Resources Task Force which developed “Watersheds,” part of the Chester County Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Smith has received both the Larry Boling Award for Excellence in Local Government and the President’s Leadership Award from PSATS. He was appointed to the Board in 1998 and has served as Chair and Vice-Chair.
- Donald Welsh currently serves on the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board and is Chair of the PA DEP Citizens Advisory Council. He has also served as the President/CEO of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council; Regional Administrator for the Mid-Atlantic Region of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and as Deputy Secretary for the PA Department of Environmental Protection. Mr. Welsh is a resident of Unionville and has been a member of the Chester County Water Resources Authority Board since 2010.
The Authority's programs and services are greatly enhanced by the professional and financial support and cooperation of the following long-term partners:
- Chester County Board of Commissioners
- Chester County Conservation District
- Chester County Department of Emergency Services
- Chester County Department of Parks and Recreation
- Chester County Health Department
- Chester County Planning Commission
- Brandywine Valley Association
- United States Geological Survey
- Pennsylvania American Water Company
- USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.