Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Interactive Map: West Virginia Public Water System Drought Risk

August 21, 2023
West Virginia county view and West Virginia watershed view from the Drought Risk application.
The West Virginia Public Water Supply Drought Risk application estimates the percent of streamflow withdrawn by select public water systems. 

About this Tool

This application is intended to help emergency, environmental, and public health managers at the federal, state, and local levels in West Virginia evaluate, plan for, and respond to potential drought conditions in at-risk communities. It uses estimated mean-monthly public water supply withdrawal rates to symbolize modeled drought conditions once every hour using streamflow estimates from the National Water Model short-range forecasts.

  • Withdrawals greater than 25% of the estimated streamflow are displayed in orange
  • Withdrawals greater than 10% and less than 25% of the estimated streamflow are displayed in yellow
  • Withdrawals less than 10% of the estimated streamflow are displayed in green

West Virginia’s interagency drought plan indicates that water conservation measures should be enacted whenever water withdrawals exceed 25% of streamflow.

In counties or watersheds with more than one public water system intake, the public water system withdrawing the greatest percent of estimated streamflow determines the color assigned to that area.

West Virginia gets 80% of its public water supply from rivers and streams, but localized or seasonal drought conditions can occur even in areas that have historically enjoyed an abundance of water. Regional climate modeling suggests that seasonal droughts may increase in severity, as rising temperatures will likely increase evapotranspiration and aridity.[1] Public water systems in smaller, rural communities located in the headwaters of unregulated watersheds are at the greatest risk for drought-related impacts. In 2019, half of West Virginia experienced moderate to severe drought while the remainder of the state experienced abnormally dry conditions.[2] Tools such as this one can help water managers plan for such drought events as they potentially become more common and more severe.

Additional information about the approach used in this application can be found in the associated report:


Drought-Vulnerability Assessment of Public Water Systems in West Virginia

Drought-Vulnerability Assessment of Public Water Systems in West Virginia


1. Fernandez, R., and Zegre, N., 2019, Seasonal changes in water and energy balances over the Appalachian Region and beyond throughout the twenty-first century: Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, v. 58, no. 5, p. 1079–1102, accessed January 26, 2022, at [Also available at 10.1175/ JAMC- D- 18- 0093.1.]

2. National Drought Mitigation Center, [2022], U.S. drought monitor: University of Nebraska-Lincoln website, accessed January 26, 2022, at