Monday, December 4, 2023

Susquehanna River Basin Commission Releases New Study Of Groundwater Recharge Potential In Critical Aquifer Areas

On December 4,
Susquehanna River Basin Commission published a groundbreaking study focused on groundwater recharge potential in over-utilized areas with limited water availability. 

The study – Identifying Optimal Groundwater Recharge Locations and Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas within the Susquehanna River Basin – was completed by the Commission to help identify important areas of the basin. 

One SRBC objective is to identify and promote the protection of open space and other land uses that provide for increased aquifer replenishment. 

The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tool developed for this study incorporates factors influencing recharge (for example, geologic materials and surface slope) to locate areas of the basin with the best/highest capacity for sustained or enhanced recharge.

Additionally, the GIS framework can determine Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas (CARAs) where water supplies have become more limited amid development and other increasing impervious cover. 

With the identification of CARAs, Commission staff and stakeholders can select and/or prioritize  actions to ensure the sustainability of water resources during periods of drought, particularly in areas that could have the most potential for impact.

The report looked at three Critical Recharge Areas in particular--

-- Spring Creek Watershed (State College Area, Centre County)

-- South Branch Conewago Creek Watershed (Hanover Area, York County) 

-- Manheim/Lititz Valley (Lancaster County)

“Protecting and enhancing CARAs will assist with drought resiliency, improve or maintain water quality, and preserve water supplies for future use,” explained John Balay, SRBC Manager of Planning & Operations. “With this tool, we can inform agricultural and forested land preservation activities, aquifer/stormwater recharge enhancement projects, and even abandoned mine land reclamation efforts.”  

All recharge datasets were compiled and stored in an ArcGIS Geodatabase and are available for download on the Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access (PASDA) geospatial data portal. 

If a local assessment of recharge potential in any region, county, watershed, or other scale is desired, a request can be made with the Commission through their website.

Click Here for a copy of the full report, a copy of a study fact sheet and maps associated with the report.

For more information on programs, training opportunities and upcoming events, visit the Susquehanna River Basin Commission website.  Click Here to sign up for SRBC’s newsletter.   Follow SRBC on Twitter, visit them on YouTube.

Related Article This Week:

-- Susquehanna River Basin Commission: Low Stream Flows Trigger ShutDown Of 4 Shale Gas Drilling Water Withdrawals In Bradford, Tioga County  [PaEN]

[Posted: December 4, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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