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MGS Releases Report on Groundwater Supply in Southern MD
BALTIMORE, MD — A new report from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Maryland Geological Survey (MGS) presents the results of a five-year study of groundwater supply potential from confined aquifers in southern Maryland. MGS geologists presented the report, Water-Supply Potential of the Coastal Plain Aquifers in Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s Counties, Maryland, With Emphasis On The Upper Patapsco and Lower Patapsco Aquifers, to the Tri-County Council this week.
Currently water needs of southern Maryland are predominantly supplied by five major aquifers - Piney Point, Aquia, Magothy, Upper Patapsco, and Lower Patapsco. Declining water levels are a concern in the Aquia, Magothy, and Upper and Lower Patapsco aquifers. Elevated arsenic levels in parts of the Aquia Aquifer have prompted water-supply managers to consider shifting a portion of ground-water withdrawals from the Aquia aquifer to the deeper Upper Patapsco and Lower Patapsco aquifers.
A groundwater flow model was used to estimate future water levels in each major aquifer through 2030, based on future pumpage scenarios compiled in conjunction with county planning departments. Simulations indicate that Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties could meet projected water needs by increasing usage of the Aquia Aquifer, or by shifting up to 50 percent of public supply withdrawals from the Aquia Aquifer to the Upper Patapsco Aquifer.
Given the future scenarios simulated in this study, areas in central and western Charles County would not be able to supply future water needs in 2030 without causing drawdowns exceeding Maryland Department of Environment management levels. Simulated future drawdowns also indicate potential problems in the shallow portions of the Upper Patapsco and Lower Patapsco aquifers, such as river-water intrusion, and possibly reduced base flow to streams and altered ecology of wetlands. Alternative water-supply options that could reduce these water-level declines in Charles County include utilizing the Patuxent aquifer, or replacing current production well fields with new wells in the Patapsco aquifers farther southeast.
The study, which was a cooperative effort between the Maryland Geological Survey, the U.S. Geological Survey, and Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary’s Counties, was undertaken to address these concerns. Funding for the five-year project was provided by Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s Counties, the U.S. Geological Survey, Maryland Geological Survey, and the Chesapeake Ranch Water Company.
For a full copy of the power point presentation, click here.
September 21, 2007
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov