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Reduction and Expansion of Groundwater Permits

Reduction and Expansion of Groundwater Permits

In 2014, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality announced that the Potomac Aquifer was overallocated and the withdrawal permits of the 14 largest groundwater users would have to be cut. Thirteen of the fourteen users are in the Hampton Roads Planning District. In December 2017, these permit revisions were completed. The aquifer is still overallocated but not as much.

Total permitted withdrawals for public water supply decreased by 17.4 mgd (about 27%). Total permitted withdrawals for industrial use decreased by 26.2 mgd (about 35%).

Table Depicting 2014 Permitted WithdrawalsTable Depicting 2017 Permitted Withdrawals 

Another significant change to DEQ’s permit program was issuance of 78 new permits for users located in the expanded area of the Eastern Groundwater Management Area. The new area extends from Gloucester to the northwest. DEQ permits were not required until the area was declared a groundwater management area in 2014.

How have all these changes affected the total groundwater allocations in the GWMA? A new analysis by HRPDC staff provides a map and summary of the active groundwater permits. The analysis includes a breakdown of withdrawals by aquifer and type of use. Click on the map image to download the PDF.

Image with tables and a map depicting Groundwater Withdrawal Permit Summary 2017

Groundwater Withdrawal Permit Summary 2017.

Aquifers in the Eastern Virginia GWMA are important drinking water sources for the Hampton Roads region. All groundwater withdrawals of more than 300,000 gallons per month within the GWMA require a permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

HRPDC staff also created this interactive map viewer to view details and run queries based on factors such as the amount of withdrawal, the water use category, and the source aquifer.

Screen Capture image of a table and a map from the interactive map viewer depicting Groundwater Withdrawal Permit Summary 2017 

For questions on the 2017 permit summary or how to use the interactive map viewer, please contact HRPDC’s Water Resources Department at (757)420-8300 or email Tiffany Smith (tsmith@hrpdcva.gov) or Whitney Katchmark (wkatchmark@hrpdcva.gov).