July 18, 2015

Sufficient water in Virginia?

If a major ProPublica investigative story is on target, we Tidewater Virginians should  question if we have sufficient and correctly measured underground and surface water for the future.

ProPublica claims that California and Arizona have been miscalculating their water supplies for decades. Hmmm. We already know that the recent drought in California prompted Governor Jerry Brown to curtail the public's water use, but what happens when the real amount of water remaining is revealed? Many already predict future "water wars." Who is watching here?

Our reservoirs are quite visible, but most of our water comes from aquifers that re-fill at a "glacial speed." Pun intended. In James City County, a majority of our system wells pump from the Chickahominy-Piney Point Aquifer (250-300 feet deep). Five other wells pump from the Potomac Aquifer (300-836 feet deep).

In October 2014, there was a bit of hoopla in local papers with headlines shouting "James City groundwater withdrawals could dry up," but I have not heard much conversation about that topic since. Counties contract with the state's DEQ about renewing their limits on withdrawing water. So the topic should resurface soon.

Click on http://www.propublica.org/series/killing-the-colorado to read ProPublica's story on the human threat to the Colorado River.