Historical ground-water withdrawals and a general water-level decline in the Black Creek and upper Cape Fear aquifers of the central Coastal Plain of North Carolina are documented. Total municipal and industrial pumpage from these aquifers has increased from approximately 120,000 gal/day (gpd) in 1910 to >21 million gpd in 1980. Major pumpage, > 10,000 gpd, began around 1900. Since that time, per capita water use in the central Coastal Plain area has ranged from 17 to 172 gpd/person. The higher values partially represent the increasing availability and use of modern conveniences since the World War II era. The range of per capita water use can be subdivided according to general water-use and population characteristics for both urban and rural areas. The pumpage of ground water from the Black Creek and upper Cape Fear aquifers has created water-level declines from 0.5 to 4.9 ft/year since 1900. Approximately a third of the study area has experienced a decline > 50 ft up to the period 1979-1981, with 148 ft being the maximum.