The U.S. Geological Survey began a multiyear regional assessment of groundwater availability in the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain (NACP) aquifer system in 2010 as part of its ongoing regional assessments of groundwater availability of the principal aquifers of the Nation. The goals of this national assessment are to document effects of human activities on water levels and groundwater storage, explore climate variability effects on the regional water budget, and provide consistent and integrated information that is useful to those who use and manage the groundwater resource. As part of this nationwide assessment, the USGS evaluated available groundwater resources within the NACP aquifer system from Long Island, New York, to northeastern North Carolina.
The northern Atlantic Coastal Plain physiographic province depends heavily on groundwater to meet agricultural, industrial, and municipal needs. The groundwater assessment of the NACP aquifer system included an evaluation of how water use has changed over time; this evaluation primarily used groundwater budgets and development of a numerical modeling tool to assess system responses to stresses from future human uses and climate trends.
This assessment focused on multiple spatial and temporal scales to examine changes in groundwater pumping, storage, and water levels. The regional scale provides a broad view of the sources and demands on the system with time. The sub-regional scale provides an evaluation of the differing response of the aquifer system across geographic areas allowing for closer examination of the interaction between different aquifers and confining units and the changes in these interactions under pumping and recharge conditions in 2013 and hydrologic stresses as much as 45 years in the future. By focusing on multiple scales, water-resource managers may utilize this study to understand system response to changes as they affect the system as a whole.