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Simulation of groundwater flow and saltwater movement in the Onslow County area, North Carolina: predevelopment-2010

Scientific Investigations Report 2013-5236

Prepared in cooperation with the City of Jacksonville, Onslow Water and Sewer Authority, and the United States Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune
By:
and
DOI: 10.3133/sir20135236

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Abstract

Onslow County, North Carolina, is located within the designated Central Coastal Plain Capacity Use Area (CCPCUA). The CCPCUA was designated by law as a result of groundwater level declines of as much as 200 feet during the past four decades within aquifers in rocks of Cretaceous age in the central Coastal Plain of North Carolina and a depletion of water in storage from increased groundwater withdrawals in the area. The declines and depletion of water in storage within the Cretaceous aquifers increase the potential for saltwater migration—both lateral encroachment and upward leakage of brackish water. Within the CCPCUA, a reduction in groundwater withdrawals over a period of 16 years from 2003 to 2018 is mandated. Under the CCPCUA rules, withdrawals in excess of 100,000 gallons per day from any of the Cretaceous aquifer well systems are subject to water-use reductions of as much as 75 percent. To assess the effects of the CCPCUA rules and to assist with groundwater-management decisions, a numerical model was developed to simulate the groundwater flow and chloride concentrations in the surficial Castle Hayne, Beaufort, Peedee, and Black Creek aquifers in the Onslow County area. The model was used to (1) simulate groundwater flow from 1900 to 2010; (2) assess chloride movement throughout the aquifer system; and (3) create hypothetical scenarios of future groundwater development.


After calibration of a groundwater flow model and conversion to a variable-density model, five scenarios were created to simulate future groundwater conditions in the Onslow County area: (1) full implementation of the CCPCUA rules with three phases of withdrawal reductions simulated through 2028; (2) implementation of only phase 1 withdrawal reductions of the CCPCUA rules and simulated through 2028; (3) implementation of only phases 1 and 2 withdrawal reductions of the CCPCUA rules and simulated through 2028; (4) full implementation of the CCPCUA rules with the addition of withdrawals from the Castle Hayne aquifer in Onslow County at the fully permitted amount in the final stress period and simulated through 2028; and (5) full implementation of the CCPCUA rules as in scenario 1 except simulated through 2100. Results from the scenarios give an indication of the water-level recovery in the Black Creek aquifer throughout each phase of the CCPCUA rules in Onslow County. Furthermore, as development of the Castle Hayne aquifers was increased in the scenarios, cones of depression were created around pumping centers. Additionally, the scenarios indicated little to no change in chloride concentrations for the time periods simulated.

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Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Simulation of groundwater flow and saltwater movement in the Onslow County area, North Carolina: predevelopment-2010
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2013-5236
DOI:
10.3133/sir20135236
Year Published:
2014
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
North Carolina Water Science Center
Description:
x, 106 p.
Number of Pages:
120
Country:
United States
State:
North Carolina
County:
Onslow County
Online Only (Y/N):
Y