Maryland Coastal Plain and Fractured-Rock Water Supply Studies
The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is responsible for managing the State’s water resources. In 2008, the Advisory Committee on the Management and Protection of the State’s Water Resources reviewed the State’s program and provided recommendations aimed at assisting the State in more effectively meeting its obligations (Report). The Committee identified the need for studies in the coastal plain and fractured-rock regions of Maryland, to acquire the comprehensive data necessary to support complex water management and permitting decisions. In response to the Advisory Committee’s recommendations, MDE has initiated comprehensive water supply studies with the assistance of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Monitoring and Non-Tidal Assessment division (MANTA), the Maryland Geological Survey (MGS), and the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
In the past, funding for these studies has come from a variety of sources, including Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Set-Aside funds, State general funds, federal earmarks, and in-kind services from USGS, MGS, and MDE.
Coastal Plain Regional Study:
The coastal plain study was initiated in 2006. To date, a GIS-based computer application, the coastal plain Aquifer Information System (CP-AIS), has been developed and is currently being used by the Water Supply Program permitting staff to evaluate water withdrawal requests. The system maps out the stratigraphy of the coastal plain aquifers using approximately 900 boreholes, 700 aquifer tests, and other data. Some naturally occurring water quality data is included as well. Additionally, the conceptual framework for the region’s groundwater flow model has been developed complete with a regional boundary, data layers, and grid spacing. Eventually this model will be developed and used to evaluate the cumulative impacts of withdrawals, assist with planning, and used to optimize water allocations in the Maryland Coastal Plain.