The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) gave the Bedford Regional Water Authority permission to take about 10 million more gallons out of Smith Mountain Lake daily.
The permit from DEQ allows the authority to take a maximum of 12 million gallons of water from the lake daily.
The previous max was 2.99 million.
Right now, the authority averages about 600,000 gallons per day, said communications coordinator Megan Rapp.
Appalachian Power, which administers the lake level, and a federal regulatory agency must also gave their okay before the authority can move forward.
In all, it's a $33 million project the authority hopes to finish by 2016.
It includes plans to expand the authority's intake station near Smith Mountain Lake, build an additional water treatment plant, and install piping to take water from the lake to the treatment plant and then on into the Forest community.
Currently the authority buys the water it uses to furnish the Forest community from Lynchburg.
"It [will] allow for more efficiency," Rapp said. "It's going to increase fire service. It allows us to reach customers that have inquired about future service."
Appalachian Power spokesman Todd Burns said there was no time table for when APCo would decide on the authority's maximum level of intake out of Smith Mountain Lake.