|Hydrogeology & Hydrology Program|
|Southern Maryland Project||contact: David Drummond, Project chief (firstname.lastname@example.org)|
Southern Maryland, consisting of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's Counties, has the highest annual growth rate (about 2.37 percent) in Maryland. The Maryland Office of Planning forecasts that by 2020 the region will have a projected population of 424,700, an increase of 168,950 over the 1995 estimate. Water demand in 2020 will increase by an estimated 20 million gallons per day or more based on a daily per capita usage of 100 gallons and anticipated increases in commercial, institutional, and military pumpage. Although some of this demand may be met from surface-water sources (for example, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Comission), the region will likely remain largely dependant on ground-water well into the future.
Increased ground-water usage in southern Maryland has caused water levels in the Piney Point, Aquia, and Magothy aquifers to decline. The policy of the Water Rights Division (Maryland Department of the Environment) is to ameliorate the impact of falling water levels on current users, particularly domestic well owners, by directing new water demand to the deeper Patapsco aquifer system. The Patapsco aquifer system is the only remaining, relatively untapped ground-water source in the region (except for northwestern Charles County where it is currently being pumped). As a result, the Patapsco aquifers (upper and lower) are becoming the primary target for new ground-water appropriators in southern Maryland.
An assessment of the areal extent and hydrogeologic characteristics of the Patapsco Formation is needed. Because the Patapsco Formation is a thick (800-900 ft.), multi-aquifer unit characterized by complex sand distribution, it is difficult to extrapolate the Patapsco aquifers into areas where well control is sparse or absent. Test wells are needed to obtain hydrogeologic data from eastern Charles County, Calvert County, and St. Mary's County so that the subsurface distribution and characteristics of the Patapsco sands (aquifers) and clays (confining units) can be more accurately defined. In addition, quantitative studies of the Patapsco aquifer system, using ground-water flow-modeling methods, are needed to estimate the future availability of ground-water and to guide State allocation policy.