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Groundwater Use and Potential Impacts on Instream Flow

Groundwater Use and Potential Impacts on Instream Flow

A recent article in New England Water Works Association notes that proportional potential impacts on low-flows in streams due to the presence of impermeable surfaces within a watershed are greater than those associated with groundwater resources {NEWWA Fish and Low Flow.pdf}. And yet...water systems utilizing groundwater resources are typically faced with water use restrictions designed to help maintain low-flows in streams, while most land owners (both private and commercial) with impermeable surfaces on their properties are not included in water resource management plans. Limitations placed on groundwater withdrawals for public water resources should be proportional to the impacts the withdrawals on instream flow, rather than being used as the primary mechanism for instream flow management. This approach would prevent unwarranted financial hardships of the municipalities (and other water purveyors) providing potable water to residents within watersheds where instream flow management plans are being considered or have been implemented.

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