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Water: Module 2

Basic Course: Key Concepts (Module 2.a)

Introduction: The Uses of a Water Body

Module 2. Designated Uses

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The "use" of a water body is the most fundamental articulation of its role in the aquatic and human environments.

The "designated" uses of a water body are an expression of goals for the water, such as supporting aquatic life and human activities, including recreation and use as a public water supply. That is, these uses may not currently be attained for the water body.

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Key Point. Designated uses are those uses specified in water quality standards for each water body or segment whether or not they are being attained.

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Video Clip View a 2-minute video clip from the classroom session about EPA and States/Tribes working together on water quality.



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Key Point. The concept of a water body having designated uses—that is, desirable and attainable uses as defined in this module—is central to establishing appropriate water quality standards (63 FR 36749, July 7, 1998).

A water body's designated uses are important because:

  • Taken together, they articulate the vision for the water body.
  • They establish the water quality management goals for the water body.
  • If they are wrong, everything else is wrong.
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Key Point. Designated uses are incorporated into State/Tribal law. They are used to determine water quality criteria, which serve as the basis for discharge permit limits.


Disclaimer:
For informational purposes only–Not official statements of EPA policy.


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