Category Archives: Groundwater

Virginians Who Use Private Wells, Springs, or Cisterns Can Get Inexpensive Baseline Testing and Assistance from the Virginia Household Water Quality Program and Master Well-owner Network; Drinking-water Clinics in 2017 Run from March 15 to November 1 in over 50 Localities

The Virginia Household Water Quality Program offers drinking-water clinics in which people who rely on private wells, springs, or cisterns can get  their water tested inexpensively for key constituents and receive a report interpreting the results.  The cost to participate in 2017 is $55.  The clinics in 2017, running from March 15 to November 1, will be cover over 50 localities.  A list of upcoming clinics in 2017 is available at this Web site: http://www.wellwater.bse.vt.edu/events.php.

Meanwhile, as of February 2017, the Virginia Master Well Owner network has over 180 members—volunteers as well as staff from Virginia Cooperative Extension and other state agencies—in several dozen Virginia localities who can assist Virginians with drinking-water well questions and problems.

Both programs are coordinated by the Virginia Tech Department of Biological Systems Engineering.  More information is available online at http://www.wellwater.bse.vt.edu, or contact the coordinator of the programs, Erin James Ling, at (540) 231-9058 or wellwater@vt.edu.

For a news account of the well-testing program, please see Virginia Tech researchers: Flint-like problems also present in Virginia wells, Roanoke Times, 4/10/16.

Geological Society of America’s Southeastern Section to Meet Mar. 30-31, 2017, in Richmond

On March 30-31, 2017, at the Omni Hotel in Richmond, Va., the Southeastern Section of the Geological Society of America will hold its annual meeting.  Water will be the specific focus of one of the meeting’s four symposia (“From Mountains to Coast: Biogeochemical Processes Affecting the Water Quality of the Bay in Our Backyard”) and several of the 20 themed sessions.

January 3, 2017, is the deadline for investigators to submit abstracts for proposed presentations.

For more information, visit http://www.geosociety.org/GSA/Events/Section_Meetings/GSA/Sections/se/2017mtg/techprog.aspx; or contact the Southeastern Section secretary, Blair R. Tormey, at btormey@email.wcu.edu.

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Virginia State Water Commission Meeting on November 30, 2016, in Richmond; Focus on JLARC’s October 2016 Report, “Effectiveness of Virginia’s Water Resource Planning and Management”; Virginia Water Radio Episode and Full-meeting Audio Available

The Virginia State Water Commission met November 30, 2016, at 10 a.m., in House Room C of the General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.  More information on the meeting is available online at http://studies.virginiageneralassembly.gov/meetings/409, or from the Virginia House of Delegates’ Clerk’s Office/Committee Operations, phone (804) 698-1540.

A Virginia Water Radio episode about the State Water Commission based on audio from the Nov. 30 meeting is available at this link (4 min./34 sec.).  An audio recording of the full Nov. 30 Commission meeting is available at this link (1 hr./47 min./15 sec.).

The focus of the Nov. 30 meeting was a discussion of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission’s (JLARC) October 2016 report, “Effectiveness of Virginia’s Water Resource Planning and Management,” October 2016 (114 pages), available online at http://jlarc.virginia.gov/landing-water.asp.  Slides from the presentation given at the Nov. 30 meeting by Jamie Bitz, chief legislative analyst at JLARC, are available at this PDF link.

According to the Division of Legislative Service’s Web page on the Commission, at http://dls.virginia.gov/commissions/swc.htm, the Virginia General Assembly created the Commission to “study all aspects of water supply and allocation problems in the Commonwealth, whether these problems are of a quantitative or qualitative nature; and coordinate the legislative recommendations of all other state entities having responsibilities with respect to water supply and allocation issues.”  The Commission includes mostly members of the General Assembly plus two citizens.

The current members of the Commission are as follows:
Del. Thomas C. Wright, Jr., Chair
Del. David L. Bulova
Del. T. Scott Garrett
Del. Barry D. Knight
Del. Daniel W. Marshall, III
Del. John M. O’Bannon, III
Del. Luke E. Torian
Del. R. Lee Ware, Jr.
Sen. Lynwood W. Lewis, Jr.
Sen. Frank M. Ruff, Jr.
Sen. William M. Stanley, Jr.
Sen. Richard H. Stuart
Sen. Frank W. Wagner
Mr. Lamont W. Curtis
Mr. Richard A. Street

Groundwater Conflict Between Mississippi and Tennessee to be Considered by U.S. Supreme Court in 2016-17 Term

During the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2016-17 term, a special master for the Court is scheduled to hear arguments in the groundwater-related case of Mississippi v. Tennessee.  In the case, Mississippi claims that it has sovereign authority over groundwater within its surface borders, and that the city Memphis, Tennessee, is using groundwater that belongs to Mississippi, and that Mississippi should therefore be compensated.  The groundwater in question comes from the Sparta-Memphis Sand Aquifer underlying both states.

This is reportedly the first time the Supreme Court has considered a shared-aquifer conflict between two states, although the Court has heard cases regarding connections between groundwater and surface water.

According to the Supreme Court’s Blog site, the issues in the case are the following: “Whether the Court will grant Mississippi leave to file an original action to seek relief from respondents’ use of a pumping operation to take approximately 252 billion gallons of high-quality groundwater; (2) whether Mississippi has sole sovereign authority over and control of groundwater naturally stored within its borders, including in sandstone within Mississippi’s borders; and (3) whether Mississippi is entitled to damages, injunctive, and other equitable relief for the Mississippi intrastate groundwater intentionally and forcibly taken by respondents.”

The case could have implications for other states that share aquifers, including Virginia and North Carolina, which share the Potomac Aquifer, a groundwater source used significantly more in southeastern Virginia than in northeastern North Carolina.

The Supreme Court docket number is 220143.

Sources:
Mississippi’s Claim That Tennessee Is Stealing Groundwater Is A Supreme Court First, Circle of Blue (produced in Traverse City, Mich.), 10/3/16.

Supreme Court of the United States Blog, “Mississippi v. Tennessee,” online at http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/mississippi-v-tennessee/.

Ogallala Aquifer Research in Central U.S. States Receives $10 Million USDA Grant in 2016

On March 22, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a four-year, $10 million grant for research on water challenges in the region of the Ogallala Aquifer, a groundwater source providing domestic and agricultural water in several Midwestern and Great Plains states.  The grant will be coordinated by Colorado State University and also involves Kansas State University, the University of Nebraska, New Mexico State University, Oklahoma State University, Texas A&M University, and Texas Tech University.  For more information, please see “Ogallala Aquifer is Focus of New USDA-funded Research Project,” in the Spring 2016 issue of Water Current (Vol. 48, No. 2) from the Nebraska Water Center, online at http://unlcms.unl.edu/ianr/water-for-food/nebraska-water-center/water-current; or USDA Awards $8.5 Million to Improve Communities’ Water Sources, USDA News Release, 3/22/16.

The Ogallala research grant is part of a larger set of USDA grants related to sustainable water for agriculture, under the “Water for Agriculture Challenge Area.”  More information on that program is available online at https://nifa.usda.gov/program/afri-water-agriculture-challenge-area.

For another Water Central News Grouper post on the Ogallala Aquifer, please see, Groundwater Decreases in Texas Portion of Ogallala Aquifer Described in July 2012 Newsletter from Lubbock, Texas, posted 9/24/12.

ogallalaArea underlain by the Ogallala Aquifer.  Map from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, “Ogallala Aquifer Initiative,” online at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/programs/initiatives/?cid=STELPRDB1048809.

41-lake-along-rt-20-in-cherry-county-jul13-2011-used-grouper-9-21-16View from U.S. Rt. 20 in Cherry County, Nebraska, July 11, 2013.  The area is part of Nebraska’s Sand Hills region, which is underlain by the Ogallala Aquifer.

Virginia State Water Commission Meets August 24, 2016, in Richmond; Agenda Includes Statewide Study of Water Resources Planning and Management; Eastern Virginia Groundwater; and Chesapeake Bay Restoration

Virginia’s State Water Commission will meet August 24, 2016, at 10 a.m., in House Room C of the General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.  More information on the meeting is available online at http://studies.virginiageneralassembly.gov/meetings/365, or from the Virginia House of Delegates’ Clerk’s Office/Committee Operations, phone (804) 698-1540.

The agenda for the August 24 meeting includes the following topics:
*Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission’s Study of Water Resource Planning and Management;
*Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee;
*Virginia’s Approach to Meeting Chesapeake Bay Restoration Goals;
*Chesapeake Bay Restoration Regional Progess.

According to the Division of Legislative Service’s Web page on the Commission, at http://dls.virginia.gov/commissions/swc.htm, the Virginia General Assembly created the Commission to “study all aspects of water supply and allocation problems in the Commonwealth, whether these problems are of a quantitative or qualitative nature; and coordinate the legislative recommendations of all other state entities having responsibilities with respect to water supply and allocation issues.”  The Commission includes mostly members of the General Assembly plus two citizens.

The current members of the Commission are as follows:
Del. Thomas C. Wright, Jr., Chair
Del. David L. Bulova
Del. T. Scott Garrett
Del. Barry D. Knight
Del. Daniel W. Marshall, III
Del. John M. O’Bannon, III
Del. Luke E. Torian
Del. R. Lee Ware, Jr.
Sen. Lynwood W. Lewis, Jr.
Sen. Frank M. Ruff, Jr.
Sen. William M. Stanley, Jr.
Sen. Richard H. Stuart
Sen. Frank W. Wagner
Mr. Lamont W. Curtis
Mr. Richard A. Street

 

 

The Geology of Virginia Published in July 2016 by Virginia Museum of Natural History

On July 25, 2016, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the release of The Geology of Virginia by the Virginia Museum of Natural History.  According to James Beard, the Museum’s curator of earth sciences, the new publication is the first comprehenisve review of Virginia geology in over 100 years, covering regional, historical, economic, and hazards geology, along with fossil life.  The book is available for purchase at the Museum in Martisnville or online at the Museum’s Web site, http://www.vmnh.net/.

Source:   Governor McAuliffe Announces Publication of Geology of Virginia, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 7/25/16.