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August 13, 2013

New Report Will Help Protect Maryland’s Water Supply

by Martha

To serve as reference for utilizing Coastal Plain aquifers

The Maryland Geological Survey has produced a report describing the major aquifers of Maryland’s entire Coastal Plain region, which will help to protect groundwater resources for nearly all of the State’s coastal residents. The report provides information critical to making wise water-management decisions.

Maryland Geological Survey members David C. Andreasen, Andrew W. Staley, and Grufron Achmad developed the Maryland Coastal Plain Aquifer Information System: Hydrogeologic Framework, which presents descriptions of 16 major aquifers and 14 confining units. The report also contains maps and cross sections, data on aquifer depths and hydraulic properties, and supporting documentation. This information forms the foundation for the geographic information system-based Maryland Coastal Plain Aquifer Information System.

Aquifers are bodies of permeable rock that contain or transmit groundwater. Within an aquifer, water moves through the spaces between individual sand or gravel particles, rather than in underground rivers or veins. Groundwater is the sole source of fresh drinking water for approximately two million coastal residents ─ located east of I-95, including the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland. A sustainable supply of clean drinking water is crucial to the health and wellbeing of citizens, and the economic livelihood of the State as a whole.

Issued by the Maryland Geological Survey, part of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, this report was prepared as part of a long-term water resource assessment of the Maryland Coastal Plain, which is being done in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Maryland Department of the Environment. The assessment was initiated in response to recommendations of the 2004 Maryland Advisory Committee on the Management and Protection of the State’s Water Resources.

Aside from being a critical drinking water source, groundwater is important for agricultural, commercial and industrial uses. Because groundwater supplies water to streams and rivers, it is also vitally important for sustaining healthy populations of fish and other aquatic organisms.

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