Environment
5:00 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Coastal Plain Counties Praised For Conservation Efforts

Coastal plain counties where the groundwater is improving.
Coastal plain counties where groundwater levels are improving.
Credit NC Division of Water Resources

Officials with the state Division of Water Resources say a new report shows great improvement in groundwater levels over a 15-county area in eastern North Carolina. According to state officials, deep-well, freshwater aquifers in the coastal plain have to stay above full capacity to keep from mixing with saltwater.  If they were to mix, cities would have to spend money to filter out saltwater to make their water is safe to drink.

Nat Wilson supervises groundwater management for the state and says communities are turning to shallow-water sources instead of depleting deeper wells.  

“We're withdrawing less water from the endangered aquifers and the pressure of the water in those aquifers has rebounded…somewhat,” he says. “So that's good news.  But what we're saying is that we want to stay on course.  We want the rules to stay in force and we want the future reductions to happen as they have been planned.”

Public water systems are required to seek alternatives to depleting deep wells and phase in those sources through 2018.  The Division of Water Resources updates the report every five years.