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Great Falls of the Passaic River at Paterson, N.J

Great Falls of the Passaic River at Paterson, N.J.

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Critical area analysis

Project Title: Critical area analysis
Project Number: 2454C8E
Project Chief:
Project Start Date: 01-OCT-2005
Project End Date: 30-SEP-2007

Project Objectives

The general objective of this program is to determine the effects of proposed or planned changes in water-supply allocations within the Critical Areas of the New Jersey Coastal Plain by utilizing the New Jersey Coastal Plain RASA groundwater model. This program will

  1. define the hydrologic and regulatory constrains within the Critical Areas,
  2. quantify the effects of proposed or planned changes in water use within the Critical Areas,
  3. determine the optimal distribution of new pumpage will be formulated subject to the regulatory constraints an
  4. provide written documentation of the model analysis

This program is planned in two parts, Critical Area 1 and Critical Area 2, over two years.

Statement of Problem

The development of groundwater in the New Jersey Coastal Plain has occurred primarily near large population centers, creating large regional cones of depression in several of the New Jersey Coastal Plain aquifers. Continued decline of water levels in the confined aquifers poses the threat of serious adverse effects to the water suply in some areas, including the depletion of groundwater supplies in some aquifers, saltwater intrusion, and reduction of groundwater to streams in outcrop areas. In response to these water-resource threats, the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has designated two areas of critical water supply (critical areas) where excessive water use or water diversions present undue stress or long-term adverse effects on a water supply. The location of Critical Areas are shown in figure 1. In an effort to improve the management of groundwater resources in the confined aquifers of the New Jersey Coastal Plain, reductions in withdrawals were implemented by the NJDEP.

Strategy and Approach

The area-specific concerns to be evaluated will be determined by the NJDEP. Modeling methods and techniques will be include standard withdrawal scenarios and optimization simulations. These will be evaluated by the USGS for cost and time constraints and applicability to the area-specific concerns. The updated RASA model will be used to evaluate the effects of changes in water-use allocations within the selected Critical Area.

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