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Fact Sheet 2011–3019

The USGS Groundwater Resources Program

Assessing Groundwater Availability in the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Aquifer System

By John P. Masterson, Jason P. Pope, Jack Monti Jr., and Mark R. Nardi


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The U.S. Geological Survey’s Groundwater Resources Program is conducting an assessment of groundwater availability throughout the United States to gain a better understanding of the status of the Nation’s groundwater resources and how changes in land use, water use, and climate may affect those resources. The goal of this National assessment is to improve our ability to forecast water availability for future economic and environmental uses. Assessments will be completed for the Nation’s principal aquifer systems to help characterize how much water is currently available, how water availability is changing, and how much water we can expect to have in the future (Reilly and others, 2008).

The concept of groundwater availability is more than just how much water can be pumped from any given aquifer. Groundwater availability is a function of many factors, including the quantity and quality of water and the laws, regulations, economics, and environmental factors that control its use. The primary objective of the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain groundwater-availability study is to identify spatial and temporal changes in the overall water budget by more fully determining the natural and human processes that control how water enters, moves through, and leaves the groundwater system. Development of tools such as numerical models can help hydrologists gain an understanding of this groundwater system, allowing forecasts to be made about the response of this system to natural and human stresses, and water quality and ecosystem health to be analyzed, throughout the region.

Revision posted February 18, 2011 6 PM

First posted February 18, 2011, 11 AM

For additional information contact:
Groundwater Resource Program, Coordinator,
Groundwater Resources Program
U.S. Geological Survey
411 National Center
Reston, VA 20192

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Suggested citation:

Masterson, J.P., Pope, J.P., Monti, Jack, Jr., and Nardi, M.R., 2011, Assessing groundwater availability in the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer system: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2011–3019, 4 p. (Also available at


Nationwide Assessment of Groundwater Availability

The Importance of Groundwater in the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain

Groundwater-Availability Assessment

Hydrogeologic Conditions

Numerical Models as Tools for Assessing Groundwater Availability

Selected References

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