An Economic Investigation of the Economic Impacts of Coastal Plain Aquifer Depletion and Actions That May Be Needed to Maintain Longterm Availability and Productivity
Stephenson, Stephen K.
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The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is concerned about declining aquifer levels in the Coastal Plain and the possibility that current and likely future withdrawals from the aquifers cannot be sustained. Because of this concern, DEQ is exploring possible new actions that would reduce groundwater use in the region. While lower overall groundwater withdrawals are desired, DEQ has not yet proposed specific actions to address depletion in the coastal aquifers. Before proceeding with new actions, DEQ is interested in understanding the potential economic impacts of reduced groundwater availability and the potential economic impacts of a range of management alternatives. This report summarizes an investigation into these potential economic impacts. The introductory section provides context for the rest of the report. Section 1.1 describes existing state policies and regulations, as well as DEQ’s groundwater management goal and regulatory criteria. Section 1.2 provides an overview of the problem while Section 1.3 describes the aquifer conditions and groundwater use trends that provide the motivation and context for this study. Finally, section 1.4 provides an overview of the remainder of the report.