In May 2013, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced the results of a study of the drawing down of 40 groundwater aquifers nationwide. According to the report’s abstract (summary), estimated groundwater depletion in the United States during 1900–2008 was approximately 1,000 cubic kilometers (km3), and the rate increased after about 1950, with maximum rates occurring between 2000–2008 when the average annual depletion rate was almost 25 km3, compared to 9.2 km3 per year averaged over the 1900–2008 period. (A cubic kilometer equals about 811,000 acre-feet, and one acre-foot equals about 325,000 gallons.) The report (Table 2, p. 7) indicates that the depletion rate also increased in Virginia’s part of the Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer; the depletion rate there was 0.025 km3 per year from 1900 to 2000, but 0.24 km3 per year from 2001 to 2008. The report is Groundwater Depletion in the United States (1900-2008), by L.F. Konikow, USGS Scientific Investigations Reprot 2013-5079, 63 pages; available online (only) at http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2013/5079. The map below, Figure 2 from the report, shows the aquifers studied and the depletion amounts in each area. Additional source: Deficit in Nation’s Aquifers Accelerating, USGS News Release 5/20/13.
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