The Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) has released a new Report of Investigations titled “Kent County Groundwater-Monitoring Project: Results of Hydrogeological Studies” prepared by staff members A. Scott Andres (retired), Rachel McQuiggan, Changming He, and Thomas McKenna. New groundwater and surface-water monitoring infrastructure, including 42 monitoring wells at 10 sites, were installed as part of a multi-year study exploring the water resources of Kent County, Delaware. This report (Report of Investigations No. 85) documents the analysis of millions of water-level, water-quality and streamflow observations collected from the major aquifers and rivers in Kent County. Information about site geology and monitoring infrastructure was documented in a previous Open-File Report (OFR No. 53). Data are available through the DGS web site (www.dgs.udel.edu/publications).
Significant findings of this study are centered on the impacts of water use in Kent County. In parts of the county, water elevations in the Frederica, Federalsburg, Cheswold, and Piney Point aquifers have dropped below sea level and flow directions have changed as a result of water withdrawals from public and irrigation wells. Pre-development flow directions in these aquifers were generally towards the southeast, but pumping has altered flow directions toward pumping centers in central and eastern Kent County. Over the past 50 years, pumping of the Piney Point aquifer in the Dover area has reduced water levels over 80 feet. The Frederica, Federalsburg, and Cheswold aquifers often function as a single, leaky aquifer as indicated by similar water levels and water chemistry at many monitoring sites. Long-term declines in streamflow and baseflow in the Marshyhope Creek and Beaverdam Branch watersheds are associated with the combined effects of increasing irrigation and climate change.
This project was funded by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) through a capital appropriation from the state of Delaware, and in coordination with the State's Water Supply Coordinating Council to address data gaps in monitoring the major aquifers in Kent County.
For questions and information, contact DGS at