Prince William Conservation Alliance
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What is the Occoquan Reservoir and Why Should You Care?
Environmental Regulations in Prince William
Unaddressed Problems Damage Prince William Waterways
Prince William's Chesapeake Bay Commitments
Virginia Erosion & Sedimentation Rules - Minimum Standards
Local Contacts
Occoquan Watershed Management Program
Occoquan Watershed Monitoring Lab
Fishing the Occoquan Reservoir
Occoquan Water Trail

The Occoquan Reservoir is an important public drinking water supply, recreational amenity and wildlife habitat area.

The Occoquan watershed (drainage area) covers 590 square miles and includes the 1,700-acre Occoquan Reservoir, which serves as the boundary between Fairfax and Prince William counties. Nearly 40% of Prince William County lands drain directly into the Occoquan Reservoir before flowing to the Potomac River and on to the Chesapeake Bay.

   The Occoquan Reservoir:

  • Supplies about 40% of the drinking water supply for 1.7 million Northern Virginia residents.
  • Can supply drinking water for the entire region in an emergency.
Shoreline Buffers Add Open Space, Protect Drinking Our Water Supply and Demonstrate Clean Water Commitments

The Occoquan Reservoir is bordered by Fairfax County to the north and Prince William County to the south. Each county has taken a different approach toward the protecting the drinking water supply.

Occoquan Reservoir showing
Fairfax County to the north (top) and
Prince William County to the south.

Prince William County

  • 450 homes
  • 70 acres public parkland (Lake Ridge Park)
  • Promises protection for headwaters area (Gainesville and Nokesville)

Fairfax County

  • 25 homes
  • 5,000 acres public parkland (Northern Virginia Regional Park system)
  • Down-zoned 41,000 acres in the Occoquan watershed in 1982; the downzoning was upheld by a landmark court decision in 1985.
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