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Simulated effects of projected 2014–40 withdrawals on groundwater flow and water levels in the New Jersey Coastal Plain

May 30, 2024


Groundwater flow between 2014 through 2040 was simulated in the New Jersey Coastal Plain based on three withdrawal scenarios. Two of the scenarios were based on projected population trends and the assumption of water conservation; the nominal water-loss scenario projected a status quo in the efficiency of water loss in the delivery systems whereas the optimal water-loss scenario projected a better water-loss efficiency resulting in less withdrawals. The third scenario assumes that all wells will withdraw water at their full allocation level which is generally much more than reported withdrawals in 2013 or projected under the other two scenarios.

Maps and summaries of heads and drawdowns are presented for nine confined aquifers. All the aquifers have areas with heads below sea level by 2040. Of the three scenarios, the drawdowns are most extreme in the full allocation scenarios; there are large areas of head decline greater than 20 feet in 5 of the 9 confined aquifers. The exceptions are the Vincentown aquifer, despite some areas of large drawdown in the vicinity of wells, and the three Potomac-Raritan-Magothy (PRM) aquifers where withdrawals are regulated by Critical Area restrictions. The nominal and optimal water-loss scenarios have some areas of head declines; most are less than 15 feet. The simulation of these scenarios shows some extensive areas of head recovery as well—especially in the aquifers that are regulated by the Critical Area restrictions.

Budgets of inflow and outflow components were calculated for 44 hydrologic budget areas (HBAs). The budget analysis shows that the water movement is complex and varies based on the aquifer geometry and location of pumping wells. Flow components between the unconfined and confined parts of the system were summarized by HUC11 (hydrologic unit code 11) basins.

Publication Year 2024
Title Simulated effects of projected 2014–40 withdrawals on groundwater flow and water levels in the New Jersey Coastal Plain
DOI 10.3133/sir20245028
Authors Leon J. Kauffman
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2024-5028
Index ID sir20245028
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization New Jersey Water Science Center