Category Archives: Groundwater

Eastern Va. Groundwater Withdrawals to be Reduced by 69 Million Gallons per Day, According to Agreements with Large Permit Holders Announced in December 2017

On December 13, 2017, Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced agreements between the Commonwealth and large groundwater-user permit holders in eastern Virginia to reduce permitted withdrawals.

Below is an excerpt from the Governor’s Office news release on the agreement, Governor McAuliffe Announces Agreements to Protect Virginia’s Aquifers; New permits will support future growth and ensure continued access to clean water, 12/13/17:
“Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced agreements to limit groundwater withdrawals from the Commonwealth’s at-risk coastal aquifers.  The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will issue new permits for 14 major groundwater users in eastern Virginia, reducing total allowable withdrawals by 69 million gallons a day.  …Since 1992, the DEQ has reviewed requests to withdraw large quantities of groundwater in the coastal plain.  Permits are issued to industry, municipal water supplies, agriculture, and large residential developments.  Over pumping has led to significant groundwater declines, measured land subsidence, and increasing saltwater intrusion.  …When Governor McAuliffe took office, permits had been issued allowing for the withdrawal of 146 million gallons of groundwater per day.  By working with the Commonwealth, the permittees found ways to reduce their allowable consumption by as much as 52 percent.”

Following is a link to a news media article on the permits agreement: State reaches deals with large water users to preserve aquifers, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 12/15/17.

Information from the DEQ on water withdrawal (both groundwater and surface water) is available online at; information specifically on groundwater withdrawal management areas and permits is available online at

Proper Well Abandonment is Well Worth Discussing on the 30th Anniversary in 2017 of the Baby Jessica Incident in Texas

On October 16, 1987, 18-month-old Jessica McClure was rescued from an abandoned water well in Midland, Texas.  The October 2017 issue of The Cross Section, from the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District in Lubbock, Tex., recalls the “Baby Jessica” story as a cautionary tale for the proper closure and sealing of wells that will not longer be used—a task of importance not only for safety of humans and animals but also for groundwater protection.  The newsletter is available online at; or contact the District at 2930 Avenue Q, Lubbock, TX 79411-2499l (806) 762-0181.

Following are some Virginia information resources related to well abandonment and sealing in Virginia.

*Virginia law on sealing temporarily or permanently abandoned wells is online at

*Water well tips from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation are available online at, or contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District  (the District Directory is available onlinee at

*“Proper Permanent Well Abandonment for Virginia Coastal Plain Wells,” from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Health, is available online at

*Some Virginia localities also provide information on proper well abandonment.

Groundwater Permit Reduction Impacts in Eastern Virginia Discussed at State Water Commission Meeting on 10/24/17

At the State Water Commission meeting on October 24, 2017, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Director David Paylor reported that recent reductions in permitted withdrawals of groundwater in eastern Virginia should reduce the rate of water-table dropping in the region’s Potomac aquifer, estimated at about 2 to 2.5 feet per year currently.  Mr. Paylor reported that the permitted withdrawals for the region’s 14 largest groundwater users have been reduced from 146 million gallons a day (MGD) to about 69 million MGD.  Mr. Paylor also noted that the Hampton Roads Sanitation Authority’s plan to add treated wastewater to the aquifer—known as the Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow, or SWIFT; online at—could significantly replenish the groundwater source.

More information about the State Water Commission meeting is available online at

Source: DEQ: Cutting groundwater draws likely to stabilize supply, Daily Press, 10/24/17.

Managed Aquifer Recharge, Storage, and Recovery in 2017 Arroyo from the Arizona Water Resources Research Center, September 2017 Water Resources Impact from AWRA, July/August 2017 Colorado Water, and Other Information Resources

Managed aquifer recharge, storage, and recovery—that is, the intentional recharge of groundwater aquifers with surface water or wastewater, for storage and potential future recovery—was examined in detail in three water newsletters in 2017.

“Arizona Water Banking, Recharge, and Recovery,” by Noah Silber-Coats and Susanna Eden, is the feature article in the 2017 issue of The Arroyo, an annual newsletter from the University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center.  The 16-page article examines in detail Arizona’s program of recharging groundwater aquifers with surface water (particularly Colorado River water from the Central Arizona Project) and the complicated legal and management arrangements involved.  The publication is available online at, or contact the Arizona center at (520) 621-9591, or e-mail:

The concept, history, and current examples of managed aquifer recharge in United States and beyond are the focus of the September 2017 issue of Water Resources Impact, published by the American Water Resources Association (AWRA; headquatered in Middleburg, Va.).  The publication devotes 30 pages in 10 feature articles by invited authors to the subject.  The publication is available online at The publication is available online at; or contact AWRA at P.O. Box 1626, Middleburg, VA 20118-8390; (540) 687-8390;

“Aquifer Storage and Recovery” is the theme of the July/August 2017 issue of Colorado Water, from the Colorado State University Water Center and the Colorado Water Institute.  The 42-page newsletter builds upon a symposium on subsurface water storage held at Colorado State University in November 2016.  The issue is available in the newsletter archive online at; or contact the Colorado Water Institute at 1033 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins CO 80523-1033; (970) 491-6308;

Following are some other information resources on this topic.

Standard Guidelines for Artificial Recharge of Ground Water – from the American Society of Civil Engineers/Environmental and Water Resources Institute.  Before presenting detailed standards for planning and implementing managed aquifer recharge projects, the document provides introductory material on groundwater recharge concepts and terms.  The document is available online (as a PDF) at

Prospects for Managed  Underground Storage of Recoverable Water – published in 2008 by the National Research Council.  The 350-page report is available online at

The Ninth International Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge – held in June 2016 in Mexico City.  The symposium Web site is

MAR Portal developed by the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre, located in The Netherlands, online at  The portal offers information on managed aquifer recharge (MAR) sites around the world and regional MAR suitability maps.

Virginia Well Inventory Maps Released in August 2017 by Virginia Tech

In August 2017, the Virginia Tech Department of Biological Systems Engineering (BSE) released two maps showing the range of the number of private wells and the percentage of the population served by private wells for each Virginia county.  As of 8/22/17, the maps are available online at the Virginia Department of Health Web site, at (scroll down to “How Many Private Wells Are There in Virginia?”); they will eventually be posted on the site of the Virginia Household Water Quality Program, online at  The maps were created by Jessica Slagle, a student intern with BSE, based on data from the Virginia State Water Resources Plan and the U.S. Census.  For more information, contact Erin Ling, the coordinator of the Household Water Quality Program, at (540) 231-9058 or

Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee Final Report Released in August 2017

On August 4, 2017, the final report of the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee was transmitted to the chair of the Virginia State Water Commission and the director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).  A link to the final report, along with other information about the work of the Advisory Committee, is available online at

The 2015 Virginia General Assembly passed HB 1924 and SB 1341, companion bills that established this Advisory Committee to assist the State Water Commission and the DEQ in developing, revising, and implementing a management strategy for groundwater in the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area.

The Advisory Committee’s report includes 12 main recommendations, summarized below from pages 9-10 of the report’s Executive Summary:
*Commonwealth to support storage, recovery, and recharge projects;
*Commonwealth to promote development of alternative water sources;
*General Assembly to lengthen the maximum groundwater permit time to 15 years;
*General Assembly to establish incentives for voluntary regional planning efforts;
*General Assembly to create incentives for local government and wellowners to connect to public water supply systems when reasonably available;
*General Assembly to require new non-agricultural irrigation wells only from unconfined aquifers in the Easter Virginia Groundwate Management Area (EVGMA);
*General assembly to encourage use of ponds, including stormwater ponds, for agricultural irrigation;
*DEQ to establish an annual “State of the Water Resources” forum;
*General Assembly to authorize a groundwater banking system;
*General Assembly to direct DEQ to create a framework for an EVGMA groundwater-trading program;
*General Assembly provide funding for a “robust” groundwater management program (directed particularly at seven listed priority activities);
*General Assembly to “fund the essential operation of DEQ to successfully manage the groundwater resources.”

Following are links to some news items on information contained in or related to the advisory committee’s report (listed from newest to oldest):
East of I-95, Virginia Begins to Limit Permitted Groundwater Users, WVTF FM-Roanoke, 8/9/17.
Virginia tightens spigot on big water users to stem Potomac Aquifer decline, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 8/5/17.

On Virginia Water Radio for 8-7-17: Proposed Gas Pipelines and Water Quality Issues

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the week of August 7, 2017, is “Natural Gas Pipelines, Water Resources, and the Clean Water Act.”  The 5 min./10 sec. episode, available online at, gives an overview of the water resources potential affected by the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley gas pipelines, plus an introduction to the Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification process, the subject of public comment/public hearings in Virginia from August 7-14, 2017.

Virginia Water Radio’s is a weekly broadcast/podcast produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.  The home page is  Have a listen or two!