15A NCAC 02E .0503       PRESCRIBED WATER USE REDUCTIONS IN CRETACEOUS AQUIFER ZONES

Cretaceous aquifer water use shall be reduced in prescribed areas over a 16 year period, starting from approved base rates on the effective date of this Rule.  The Cretaceous aquifer system zones and the three phases of water use reductions are listed as follows:

(1)           Cretaceous aquifer system zones are regions established in the fresh water portion of the Cretaceous aquifer system that delimit zones of salt water encroachment, dewatering and declining water levels.  These zones are designated on the paper and digital map entitled "Central Coastal Plain Capacity Use Area Cretaceous Aquifer Zones" (CCPCUA) on file in the Office of the Secretary of State one week prior to the effective date of these Rules.

(2)           The reductions specified in this Rule do not apply to intermittent users. 

(3)           If a permittee implements an aquifer storage and recovery program (ASR), reduction requirements will be based on the total net withdrawals.  The reductions specified in this Rule do not apply if the volume of water injected into the aquifer is greater than the withdrawal volume.  If the withdrawal volume is greater than the injected volume, reductions specified in this Rule apply to the difference between the withdrawal volume and the injected volume.

(4)           The reductions specified in this Rule shall not reduce permitted water use rates below 100,001 gallons per day.

(5)           Phase definitions:

(a)           Phase I:  The six year period extending into the future from the effective date of this Rule.

(b)           Phase II:  The five year period extending into the future from six years after the effective date of this Rule to 11 years after the effective date of this Rule.

(c)           Phase III:  The five year period extending into the future from 11 years after the effective date of this Rule to 16 years after the effective date of this Rule.

(6)           Phase reductions:

(a)           Phase I:

(i)            At the end of the Phase I, permittees who are located in the dewatering zone shall reduce annual water use from Cretaceous aquifers by 25% from their approved base rate.

(ii)           At the end of the Phase I, permittees who are located in the salt water encroachment zone shall reduce annual water use from Cretaceous aquifers by 25% from their approved base rate.

(iii)          At the end of the Phase I, permittees who are located in the declining water level zone shall reduce annual water use from Cretaceous aquifers by 10% from their approved base rate.

(b)           Phase II:

(i)            At the end of the Phase II, permittees who are located in the dewatering zone shall reduce annual water use from Cretaceous aquifers by 50% from their approved base rate.

(ii)           At the end of the Phase II, permittees who are located in the salt water encroachment zone shall reduce annual water use from Cretaceous aquifers by 50% from their approved base rate.

(iii)          At the end of the Phase II, permittees who are located in the declining water level zone shall reduce annual water use from Cretaceous aquifers by 20% from their approved base rate.

(c)           Phase III:

(i)            At the end of the Phase III, permittees who are located in the dewatering zone shall reduce annual water use from Cretaceous aquifers by 75% from their approved base rate.

(ii)           At the end of the Phase III, permittees who are located in the salt water encroachment zone shall reduce annual water use from Cretaceous aquifers by 75% from their approved base rate.

(iii)          At the end of the Phase III, permittees who are located in the declining water level zone shall reduce annual water use from Cretaceous aquifers by 30% from their approved base rate.

(7)           The CCPCUA Cretaceous Aquifer Zones map shall be updated, if necessary, in the sixth, eleventh, and sixteenth years following the effective date of this Rule to account for aquifer water level responses to phased withdrawal reductions.  The map update shall be based on the following conditions:

(a)           Rate of decline in water levels in the aquifers;

(b)           Rate of increase in water levels in the aquifers;

(c)           Stabilization of water levels in the aquifers; and

(d)           Chloride concentrations in the aquifers.

This aquifer information shall be analyzed on a regional scale and used to develop updated assessments of aquifer conditions in the Central Coastal Plain Capacity Use Area.  The Environmental Management Commission (EMC) may adjust the aquifer zones and the water use reduction percentages for each zone based on the assessment of conditions.  The EMC shall adopt the updated map and reduction percentage changes after public hearing.

(8)           The reductions specified in this Rule do not apply to wells exclusively screened or open to the Peedee aquifer.

(9)           An applicant may submit documentation supporting the exemption of a well located in the Declining Water Level Zone from the withdrawal reductions specified in this Rule.  This documentation must include a record of monthly static water levels from that well over at least a three-year period, ending with the month when the request for exemption is submitted.  The Director may exempt a well from reductions if the water level history shows no pattern of decline during this three-year period.  A well previously exempted from the withdrawal reductions shall become subject to the reduction if water levels begin to show a pattern of decline.

 

History Note:        Authority G.S. 143-215.15;

Eff. August 1, 2002.