As a follow up to HRPDC’s January 9, 2013 Special Report “Groundwater Withdrawals Increase as Public Reviews Proposed Regulations,” staff has continued to monitor permitted groundwater withdrawals in the Eastern Virginia groundwater management area, which is an important drinking water source for the Hampton Roads region. As of October 30, 2013, a total of 168 groundwater withdrawal permits were on record for the allocation of approximately 150.4 million gallons per day (mgd) of groundwater withdrawals from the Eastern Virginia groundwater management area for public water supply, industrial, commercial, agricultural, landscape irrigation, and other uses. Public water supply and industrial uses account for 49.5% and 47.5%, respectively, of the permitted withdrawals. Approximately 147.2 mgd of the 150.4 mgd of total permitted withdrawals (97.9%) come from the Potomac Aquifer, the largest and most heavily used source of groundwater in the Virginia Coastal Plain. Declining groundwater levels in this area continue to be of concern.
The map below (download PDF) summarizes active groundwater withdrawal permits for 2013. Each point on the map represents the general location of a permitted withdrawal. The green circles identify permits that have been issued or withdrawals that are occurring based on a certificate of groundwater rights. The yellow squares represent permits that are pending issuance. Clicking on a permit symbol in this interactive map viewer reveals the permittee, the permitted groundwater withdrawal, the water use category, and the source aquifer.
Of the 168 active permits in the Eastern Virginia groundwater management area, 143 permits remain unchanged since 2012, five permitted groundwater withdrawal area were increased, 13 were decreased, two new groundwater withdrawal permits were issued, and five permits are pending issuance. A total of six permits became inactive since 2012; one was withdrawn, two were revoked, and three expired.
January 1, 2014 is the effective date for two revised regulations that will impact the management of groundwater resources in the Eastern Virginia groundwater management area. All groundwater withdrawals of more than 300,000 gallons per month within a designated groundwater management area require a permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). As of January 1, 2014, the majority of the Virginia coastal plain physiographic province will be included in the Eastern Virginia groundwater management area and groundwater withdrawals will therefore be subject to the revised regulations.
The amendments to 9VAC20-600, Designated Groundwater Management Areas, provide for the addition of the following localities to the Eastern Virginia groundwater management area: the counties of Essex, Gloucester, King George, King and Queen, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Northumberland, Richmond, and Westmoreland, and the areas of Arlington, Caroline, Fairfax, Prince William, Spotsylvania, and Stafford counties east of Interstate 95. The following localities are already included in the Eastern Virginia GWMA: the counties of Charles City, Isle of Wight, James City, King William, New Kent, Prince George, Southampton, Surry, Sussex and York, the areas of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico counties east of I95, and the cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Hopewell, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg.
The amendments to 9VAC25-610, Groundwater Withdrawal Regulations address the increasing demand on limited groundwater resources, changes to the administrative review process, and regulatory changes necessitated by new information on the coastal plain aquifer system.