Comprehensive Assessment of Water Supply in Maryland cooperating agencies USGS MD-DE-DC Water Science Center Home Maryland Department of Natural Resources Home Maryland Department of Environment Home Maryland Geological Survey Home

Coastal Plain

The Maryland Coastal Plain region is almost entirely dependent upon groundwater for its water supply. Decades of increasing withdrawals have caused groundwater levels to decline by as much as 2 feet per year in some areas. Continued declines at this rate could affect the long-term sustainability of groundwater resources in Maryland's heavily populated Coastal Plain communities, and the agricultural industry of the Eastern Shore.

In response to a recommendation in 2004 by the Advisory Committee on the Management and Protection of the State's Water Resources, the Maryland Geological Survey and the U.S. Geological Survey have developed a Science Plan for a comprehensive assessment that will provide new scientific information and new data management and analysis tools for the State to use in allocating groundwater in the Coastal Plain. The comprehensive assessment has five goals aimed at improving the current information and tools used to understand the resource potential of the aquifer system:


  • Document the geologic and hydrologic characteristics of the aquifer system in the Maryland Coastal Plain and adjacent areas of neighboring states;

  • Construct a regional groundwater-flow model, incorporating detailed studies of water budgets in recharge areas and confining bed hydraulic characteristics;

  • Improve documentation of patterns of water quality in all Coastal Plain aquifers, including the distribution of saltwater;

  • Enhance groundwater-level, streamflow, and water-quality-monitoring networks in the Maryland Coastal Plain; and

  • Develop science-based tools to facilitate sound management of the groundwater resources in the Maryland Coastal Plain.



Hydrograph showing water level decline in a well in the Aquia aquifer near Solomons, Calvert County, Maryland, 1960-2004.


Coastal Plain Science Plan

Coastal Plain Science Plan