Water Supply Alternatives in the North Carolina Central Coastal Plain Capacity Use Area
Renner, James F.
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Groundwater is the primary water source in the central coastal plain of North Carolina, comprising 67% (64 mgd) of the total publicly supplied water (95 mgd) in 1997. In order to reverse declining water levels and salt water intrusion in the important Cretaceous aquifers, the Environmental Management Commission passed rules for ground water use in the fifteen county Central Coastal Plain Capacity Use Area (CCPCUA). A critical provision of the CCPCUA rules is reduction of Cretaceous aquifer withdrawals by up to 75% by 2018. Of 122 public water supply systems in the CCPCUA, 36 systems may have to reduce Cretaceous aquifer withdrawals by a total of 25 mgd by 2018. The most promising water supply alternatives are aggressive water conservation, development of underutilized or alternate aquifers, rivers, and regionalized water supply systems. The cost to replace Cretaceous aquifer reductions and meet future demands of the 36 public water systems is roughly estimated to be $180 to $250 million. The water supply situation in the CCPCUA is comparable to that of coastal Georgia, and it should be closely monitored to provide insight into effective water supply management in Georgia’s coastal counties.
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