More than 1,500 well records were compiled for Avery and Watauga Counties, North Carolina, as part of a study of ground-water resources. Wells in this area of the Blue Ridge Physiographic Province produce water from the fractured-bedrock aquifer. Prior to this study, only about 132 wells were included in the U.S. Geological Survey's National Water Information System, as a result of a study conducted during the late 1960s. The large number of additional well records provide a better data set to evaluate the ground-water resources. From the more recent well inventory conducted in 2007, the range of well yields in these two counties is from 0 to 400 gallons per minute. Total depth of the wells ranged from 20 to 1,204 feet below land surface, and depth to primary fracture zones ranged from 25 to 1,000 feet below land surface.
In many rural areas of North Carolina (NC), ground water is the sole resource for drinking water. With increasing population, many more wells are being drilled, and information on this important resource needs to be updated. In February 2007, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) initiated a study in cooperation with the High Country Council of Governments, through a grant received by the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center, to better quantify available ground-water resources in two rural counties (Avery and Watauga) in the northern North Carolina mountains. Many small towns in Avery and Watauga counties are dependent on wells from local fractured-bedrock aquifers, and local officials are concerned about the sustainability of the resource for support of economic development and population growth. In 2005, all residents in Avery County were served by ground-water resources, while 37 percent of the population in Watauga County was served by ground water (D.G. Smith, U.S. Geological Survey, written commun., 2007).
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Inventory of Well Yields in Avery and Watauga Counties, North Carolina