Our Mission, Our Roles and Programs

Our Mission

To enhance public welfare through comprehensive planning, water supply allocation, and management of the water resources of the Susquehanna River Basin

2021 marked the 50th anniversary of the Susquehanna River Basin Compact, which established the Susquehanna River Basin Commission for a period of 100 years.

Our Programs

Key Activities

Importance of our Work


Project Review & Compliance

Oversee large water withdrawals and uses for industrial, energy and municipal purposes from both surface and groundwater resources.

Monitor operations and water use from regulated users and ensure compliance with approved permit conditions.

Key Activities

Review and administer requests for water withdrawals and uses.

Maintain online database of approved water users.

Conduct random and routine site inspections and audits and respond to complaints.

Importance of Work

SRBC is the only agency in the Susquehanna River Basin that reviews and approves the consumptive use of water — water removed from available supplies and not returned to a stream, river, or treatment plant.

Proper oversight of the quantity and rate of water withdrawals prevents permanent degradation of streamflow, water quality and aquatic habitat, and it avoids costly conflicts among users.


Monitoring & Protection

Collect and interpret biological, chemical and physical data to better understand stream health and any impacts from pollution.

Key Activities

Track long-term trends in water quality related to fish and aquatic life, nutrient and sediment pollution, abandoned mine drainage, and stormwater runoff.

Assess risks to drinking water sources.

Monitor water quality in sensitive watersheds in real-time at 80 stream stations in the Basin.

Importance of Work

SRBC fulfills a critical role in monitoring conditions in a consistent, watershed-based manner across the Basin states.

SRBC's monitoring expertise lends support to understanding the results of land use practices implemented to protect surface and groundwater resources.


Planning & Operations

Assess the nature and quantity of water availability and use in the Susquehanna River Basin.

Lead coordination efforts that ensure Basin agencies and residents can withstand flooding and drought events.

Key Activities

Comprehensive Water Use and Availability Study characterizes water use and availability for the Basin and includes a web map tool.

Coordinate state-of-the-art Susquehanna Flood Forecast and Warning System (SFFWS) to maximize community flood preparedness.

Importance of Work

Water use data and analysis informs decisions to ensure sustainable water supplies and prepare for drought conditions.

The SSFWS saves lives through early warnings of rising river levels. SRBC also works with agency partners to map flood prone areas to reduce flood damage and disruption to vulnerable communities.

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) is a federal interstate watershed agency established under the Susquehanna River Basin Compact, adopted in 1971.

The Susquehanna River Basin:

  • Meanders 444 miles from its source at Otsego Lake in Cooperstown, NY, until it empties into the Chesapeake Bay at Havre de Grace, MD.
  • Has more than 49,000 miles of streams within a 24,000 square-mile watershed, which is comprised of 69 percent forestlands.
  • Provides drinking water for 6 million residents in New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland and water for industry, commerce, recreation, and power.