How much water do you use to water your lawn, wash your car, or fill your swimming pool? Your answers to these questions have important implications for water supplies in the City of Virginia Beach. To help find the answers, the City cooperated with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Old Dominion University to learn more about seasonal outdoor water use. In the summer of 2008 the USGS surveyed city residents and asked detailed questions about their outdoor water use. This fact sheet describes what was learned in the survey.
The amount of seasonal water use is important to the City of Virginia Beach because the primary source of this water is a fragile, shallow aquifer that is the only fresh groundwater source available within the city. Residents in the mostly rural southern half of Virginia Beach rely solely on this aquifer, not only for outdoor water uses but also for indoor domestic uses such as drinking and bathing. Groundwater that is close to the land surface in Virginia Beach is mostly fresh, whereas water 200 feet or more below the land surface is mostly saline and generally too salty to drink or use for irrigating lawns and gardens.