Groundwater Availability of the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain

Description of Study:

As part of the USGS Groundwater Resources Program, the USGS began a groundwater availability study of the North Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer system in the fall of 2010. The objectives of this study are three fold: 1) quantify the current groundwater resources of one of the Nation’s priority aquifer systems; 2) evaluate how this resource has changed over time, and 3) provide the tools needed to forecast how this aquifer system may respond to future human and environmental stresses.

Water availability is a function of many factors, including the quantity and quality of water and the laws, regulations, economics, and environmental factors that control its use. The focus of the North Atlantic Coastal Plain Groundwater Availability study is on improving fundamental knowledge of the water budget of this aquifer system, including the flows, storage, and use by humans and the environment. An improved quantitative understanding of the aquifer system’s water budget not only provides key information about water quantity, but also is essential for assessments of water quality and ecosystem health.

A synthesis of existing information will be used by the NACP project team to determine how much water enters, moves through, and discharges from the groundwater flow system and to update the hydrogeologic framework to support the development of a groundwater flow model for North Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer system. This numerical model will serve as a tool to better understand how this aquifer system responses to the continuing and growing demands on the groundwater resources in this region.

The North Atlantic Coastal Plain (NACP) occupies a land area of about 34,000 mi<sup>2</sup> along the eastern seaboard of the United States from Long Island N.Y., southward to the northern portion of North Carolina. The sediments that constitute the NACP aquifer system also extend up to 80 miles offshore to the continental shelf thereby increasing the total coastal plain area to about 104,000 mi<sup>2</sup>

Above: The North Atlantic Coastal Plain (NACP) occupies a land area of about 34,000 mi2 along the eastern seaboard of the United States from Long Island N.Y., southward to the northern portion of North Carolina. The sediments that constitute the NACP aquifer system also extend up to 80 miles offshore to the continental shelf thereby increasing the total coastal plain area to about 104,000 mi2.

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U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey

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