Northeastern Section–41st Annual Meeting (20–22 March 2006)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 2:05 PM


BOLTON, David W., Maryland Geological Survey, 2300 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21218, SHEDLOCK, Robert J., USGS, 8987 Yellow Brick Road, Baltimore, MD 21237 and CLEAVES, Emery T., Maryland Geological Survey, N.A, 2300 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21218,

The Maryland Coastal Plain region is almost entirely dependent upon groundwater for its water supply. However, ground-water levels in parts of the Maryland Coastal Plain have been declining for several decades by an average of two feet per year. Continued declines at this rate could affect the long-term sustainability of ground-water resources in Maryland's heavily populated Coastal Plain communities and the agricultural industry of the Eastern Shore.

In response to a recommendation of a 2004 Report by the Advisory Committee of the Management and Protection of the State's Water Resources, the Maryland Geological Survey and the U.S. Geological Survey are developing a Science Plan that will provide a comprehensive scientific framework to develop management tools for the State to use in allocating ground water in the Coastal Plain. The Science Plan has five goals: 1) Refine the hydrogeologic framework and aquifer properties based on recent data; 2) Develop a regional ground-water flow model with local grid refinements to investigate water budgets and impacts of pumpage; 3) Determine water quality patterns in the aquifer system; 4) Evaluate and enhance monitoring networks; and 5) Develop management tools for ground-water allocation.

The assessment will be implemented in three phases. Phase 1 was implemented in January 2006 with emphasis on updating the hydrogeologic framework; design of a GIS-based aquifer data system; refinement of water-use databases; assessment of existing water-quality data; and initiation of flow and management models. Ground-water flow model development and flow system research will be done in Phase 2, while development of the ground-water management tools will be completed in Phase 3. The entire assessment, if fully implemented, is expected to take seven to eight years.

The development of the aquifer information system is a key component of the assessment. The system will store all relevant aquifer data and appropriate ancillary data in a spatially referenced data base. This system will be designed to serve the needs of both scientific investigators and water managers. The system will be web-based and facilitate the use of ground-water management models for evaluation of a variety of water management strategies.