The stabilities of possible Y(R3+ + R2+ + Li+) clusters around the W anion (O1 site) of the tourmaline structure were checked using the bond-valence approach. Arrangements involving R3+ = Al3+ or Fe3+ and R2+ = (Fe, Mn, Mg)2+ were all found to be stable. Structural data show a strong linear correlation between the mean formal valence (MFV) of the Y cations and the long-range average bond valence sum (BVS) at the O1 site, as estimated from bond-valence parameters. This correlation is observed for all chemical compositions of tourmaline, except for fluor-buergerite where the O3 site is dominated by oxygen anions. Results show that the long-range site populations of the Y and O1 sites are related to each other by valence constraints described by the empirical and theoretical equations: BVS(O1) = [0.99 MFV(Y) − 1.20] and MFV(O1) = [1.00 MFV(Y) − 1.00], respectively. The systematic deviation of the empirical equation from the ideal one is ascribed to the occurrence of bond strain involving the O1 site. An important implication of the correlation between MFV(Y) and BVS(O1) is that the (OH) content at the O1 site may be estimated by the equation W(OH) = 2 – [1.01 BVS(O1)] – 0.21 – F.