Thursday, November 28, 2019

Klein Development Public Hearing will be held in 2020

Last week the Prince William Planning Commission recommended the current iteration of the development of the Klein property for approval. Stanley Martin Homes wants a Comprehensive Plan Amendment (CPA) to change the long-range land use designation for the over 100. acres from CEC, Community Employment Center, and SRR, Semi-Rural Residential, to CEC with a Center of Community Overlay and with an expanded study area. These changes would allow Stanley Martin build in this version 74 townhomes, 56 single-family homes, 120 low rise condominiums and 145,000 square feet of commercial space and an elementary school. The properties in the development will be connected to public water from supplied by Prince William Public Service Authority and with surface water as the source supply. So, there will be no increase in the use of groundwater in the immediate area.

This change requires a public hearing before the PW County Board of Supervisors. It was announced by Marty Nohe that hearing will now be held in the new year before the newly elected Board. Stanley Martin Homes made the request for the delay. It was impractical to hold the hearing in the middle of December. 

The Kline Farm property encompasses a bit more than 100 acres and is generally located south and southeast of the intersection of Prince William Parkway and Liberia Avenue, and north of Buckhall Road. The property is located in a transitional area of the county that is adjacent to the City of Manassas. North of the site and across the Prince William Parkway is the Prince William Commerce Center, still under development and will contain mixed retail/commercial/office uses, as well as the suburban residential neighborhood of Arrowood and the semi-rural residential neighborhood of Hyson Knolls to the northeast. East and southeast of the site is semi-rural residential communities and A-1 zoned property. To the west and northwest is the City of Manassas with existing retail service/commercial strip development. Southwest of the subject site is existing suburban residential development.

Water sustainability needs to be addressed. The residents within the abutting Hynson Knolls community, homeowners bordering Buckhall Road and homes along Lake Jackson Drive rely on private wells for water. In a “Preliminary Hydrogeological Assessment-Klein Site” prepared by SES/TrueNorth they do a preliminary look at whether the development of the site is likely to have an adverse impact on surrounding private wells and septic systems. The properties in the development will be connected to public water from supplied by Prince William Public Service Authority and with surface water as the source supply. So, there will be no increase in the use of groundwater in the immediate area.

In developing the theoretical groundwater budget the Stanley Martin Homes consultant assumed that the groundwater recharge rate for the site was equivalent to the average groundwater recharge for Prince William County when it was more than half open space. Changing ground cover changes groundwater recharge. We’ve recently seen that based on the work of the US Geological Survey (USGS) and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in Fauquier County where they found groundwater recharge at less than 2.5 inches a year near Route 29.  

Geology varies across the county with different water bearing and storage potential in the different hydrogeologic groups, but the changing amount of open space in this area Prince William county will impact the future recharge of the groundwater in the immediate area. The actual groundwater recharge for the area needs to be determined and the impact that the development will have on the future recharge of groundwater needs to be estimated to ensure the existing residents will continue to have adequate water for their homes. It could take years, but changing land use has the potential to disrupt groundwater recharge.

Monday, November 25, 2019

As Winter Comes Should VDOT Use Salt?

In the last week of October NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center released the long range weather forecast through February for the country. Northern Virginia is predicted to have warmer-than-average temperatures combined with a wetter-than-average winter. Nonetheless, VDOT’s Northern Virginia District covering Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William Counties and Arlington is preparing for winter.

The Northern Virginia District serves a region with almost 2.4 million people and 13,585 lane miles of roadways that are maintained by VDOT. In the winter VDOT needs to clear the roads of snow in a timely fashion to keep the government open and community services operational, while still protecting the source water for the region. VDOT will have a snow budget this winter of almost $54 million to cover the costs of contracting road treatment and snow removal and maintaining a limited amount of staff and equipment.

The Northern Virginia District of VDOT also has 120,000 tons of salt, 25,000 tons of sand and 250,000 gallons of brine or magnesium chloride. While salt (sodium chloride and magnesium chloride) products are cheap and effective at helping to keep us safe during winter storms, they have a number of harmful impacts to the environment, water quality, infrastructure and public health. VDOT has to balance public safety during winter storms and environmental impacts.

VDOT uses sprayed on salt solution that is only about 23% salt to pretreat the interstates (66, 95, 395 and 495) and the major roads (for example Routes 1, 7, 28, 50, 15 etc.) In total VDOT only applies brine to pretreat 2,150 lane miles of interstates, major roads and bridges- just the interstates and major roads, none of the suburban communities. You’ve seen the brine as light white lines sprayed in roadway lanes before storms. The anti-icing treatment is most effective during the first hour when it prevents the snow from bonding to the roadway. This makes it easier and more effective to plow a road.

Pretreating the roadway is most effective when temperature are above 20 degrees Fahrenheit and there is no rain forecast. Pretreating is not effective if a storm starts with rain. The brine is simply washed off the road and into our water ways. VDOT has its own MS4 permit to prevent pollution to the storm sewer system or our streams, waterways and groundwater. VDOT has a pollution prevention and mitigation program to minimize the infiltration and runoff of brine solution from storing, mixing, loading and washing equipment.

The source water protection program and addressing deicing salts in particular are currently a top priority for Fairfax Water and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). None of the local water utilities have the equipment to remove salt from their source water. The only available technology to remove salt from the source water is reverse osmosis which is cost prohibitive and requires a significant amount of energy to run. The brine solution currently in use by VDOT have reduced the salt use by 30%-65% depending on storm duration, temperature and storm intensity. To further protect the waterways VDOT will not be pretreating any of the suburban communities/ development roads.

DEQ and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission have gathered together stake holder to tackle the challenge of striking a balance between benefits and impacts in a Salt Management Strategy (SaMS). This strategy will be under development throughout 2020, but VDEQ is holding a meeting to hear the concerns of the communities. There will be a meeting at Kings Park Library on December 3, 2019 at 6:30 pm where DEQ is going to listen to the community. You can sign up at the link. If you want to read about what has been going on at the meetings you can at this link.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Water and Qatar

Using data collected over a 15 year period from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) scientists have increased their knowledge of how water moves and is stored on Earth. In the coming years the GRACE follow up mission satellites that were launched in 2018 will increase that understanding of water resources and how the global climate is changing rainfall and water storage and man’s actions are impacting water availability and sustainability.

Qatar is mostly an example of man’s impact. Qatar is an arid country with no perennial rivers or lakes and is one of the most water stressed country on earth. It receives an average annual rainfall of less than 3 ¼ inches per year, in adequate to supply even 5% of its population. Historically there was barely enough water for survival of the small population. What little water was available came from wells in the desert. Yet, the nation now uses 157 gallons a day of water per person. How does a nation with virtually no water resources end up using water as if they have an unlimited supply? The wealth to desalinate water, and subsidize its price. Oil and gas resources were discovered around 1940 that changed the population growth and trajectory of the nation.

In 1968, Britain announced its plans of withdrawing its military east of the Suez canal. When Qatar, Dubai, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi failed to form a federation, Qatar declared its independence in September 1971 and became an independent state. When Qatar gained independence, its population was under 120,000. Even then the renewable water resources (groundwater recharged from rain) were inadequate to support the population.

Qatar used the vast natural gas and oil wealth to bring water to their dessert. Qatar has relied upon desalination to meet the increasing domestic water demand since 1953. Today, the population of Qatar is 2.8 million and the nation relies primarily on the older thermal desalination method which uses much more energy than reverse osmosis. The average annual rainfall recharge to groundwater is around 53 million cubic meters. The current capacity of desalination plants in Qatar is around 474 million cubic meters per year. Around 30% of the expensive desalinated water is reportedly to leakage in the water distribution system, and the rest is used for domestic purposes. Agriculture depends on groundwater. Qatar abstracts about 220 million cubic meters of groundwater per year. As a result, groundwater level drops about a meter a year even with the nation using waste water to recharge the groundwater. The groundwater aquifer is shared with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Desalination provides almost all domestic water. The demand for water increases continuously as a result of the influx of migrants into the country and the government subsidizing the cost of power and water. Desalination, especially the older thermal method consumes massive amounts of energy. Groundwater continues to be used for agricultural irrigation. In 2017, a number of countries led by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt (collectively referred to as the 'Quartet') severed their ties with Qatar and imposed a blockade due to their funding and active support of Syrian fractions.

The blockade limited food importation. Qatar began a program to increase their food production which required increasing water production and storage. Until that time, Qatar had about 3 days of water storage for the nation- highly vulnerable to water attack. The state utility, Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation called Kahramaa is engaged in a project to ensure 7 days of reserve water supply, but the water situation is not sustainable and nearing crisis. With the money from oil and gas Qatar may be able to sidestep disaster. Qatar is moving forward with building new desalination plants using the lasts technology and is testing treating the water produced from oil and gas production for use. Produced water tends to have high salinity and also contains radioactive trace contaminants as well as other contaminants.

The challenges of water security in Qatar is easily visible, but it is becoming more common in other water stressed parts of the world where changes in rainfall can have catastrophic impact on nations or even states.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Climate Talks are Moved to Spain

Though the Chilean protests were sparked by a subway fare hike, the protests and violence have spread during the past month. According to the BBC, ”At least 20 people have died and about 1,000 have been injured in protests...” The protests and violence have prompted a relocation of the 25th United Nations climate change summit to Madrid, Spain.

The United States will be present at the Madrid meeting, though President Trump formally announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement in one year (right after the election next year). This is the amount of time that is required to withdraw. However, any signatory that withdraws from the pact can apply for readmission to the United Nations and can be back in within 30 days. With both New York and California aiming for net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the nation will continue to move in that direction and other states will join in without a federal mandate. Basically, any time in the future a President can ask to be readmitted to the Paris climate agreement.
This graph is from the Global Carbon Project a cool presentation you might want to take a look at
Under the Paris Agreement, signed in 2016, many countries pledged carbon emissions caps. It was a hopeful moment with many nations pledging to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of fossil fuel. However, neither China nor India promised any reductions. China promised to reach peak carbon emissions around 2030, and meanwhile to increase the non-fossil share of its primary energy to 20%. It is reported that China continues on that path, though, China has been financing coal fired generation in other countries. Nonetheless, earths carbon equivalent emissions continue to rise.
This graph is from Carbonbried and was posted by Jan Ivar Korsbakken, Robbie Andrew and Glen Peters from CICERO Center for International Research in Norway
The reductions promised are not enough to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or even 2 degrees Celsius. The U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) projects that U. S. CO2 emissions will reach 5,237 million tonnes in 2018, then remain virtually unchanged in 2019 (this is expected to be about half of China’s emissions in 2019). China’s CO2 emissions grew by 2.3% in 2018, to more than 10,726 million tonnes while GDP grew by 6.6%. The EIA is projecting global CO2 emissions grew 21% from 2005 to 2017 and will continue to rise reaching 23% above 2005 levels in 2019. We have long ago passed the tipping point where climate change could be prevented. We need to plan to survive in the future climate of this planet.
from EIA

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Maryland Regulating Your Suburban Lawn Fertilization

The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) sent out a news release announcing that the winter blackout date for lawn fertilization, November 15 was upon us and reminding lawn professionals and homeowners not to apply fertilizer to their lawns until March 1. So, in case you were planning on fertilizing your lawn this weekend, don't.

In order to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay and meet the nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) reductions mandated by the U.S. EPA, Maryland passed their lawn fertilizer law in 2011 and it took effect October 1, 2013. Maryland's lawn fertilizer law is intended to help protect the Chesapeake Bay from excess nutrients entering its waters from a variety of urban an suburban sources, including golf courses, parks, recreation areas, businesses and hundreds of thousands of lawns. This law extends to homeowners. Homeowners and do-it-yourselfers are required to obey fertilizer application restrictions, use best management practices when applying fertilizer, observe fertilizer blackout dates and follow University of Maryland recommendations when fertilizing lawns. Did you know that?

A county, municipality or the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) may choose to enforce these requirements for homeowners. This is a civil violation, not criminal. Violators are subject to civil penalties of up to $1,000 for the first violation and $2,000 for each subsequent violation if the law is enforced. It is unlikely that the typical homeowner is familiar with the requirements of the law or how the county, municipality or the MDA would be aware of the violations. For example did you apply fertilizer on a day when rain was predicted? Did you run your fertilizer spreader across your front walk when spreading fertilizer. In case you have no clue what the requirements are:
  • A single fertilizer application may not exceed 0.9 pound total nitrogen per 1,000 sq ft which can include no more than 0.7 pound of soluble nitrogen per 1,000 sq ft.
  • Visit for seasonal and yearly nitrogen recommendations.
  • Phosphorus may only be applied when a soil test indicates that it is needed or when a lawn is being established, patched or renovated.
  • Fertilizer may not be used to de-ice walkways and driveways.
  • It is against the law to apply fertilizer to sidewalks or other impervious surfaces. Fertilizer that lands on these surfaces must be swept back onto the grass or cleaned up. 
  • No fertilizer applications within 10 to 15 feet of waterways. 
  • Do not fertilize lawns if heavy rain is predicted or the ground is frozen.
  • Do not apply lawn fertilizer between November 15 and March 1. 
  • Enhanced efficiency controlled release products may be applied at no more than 2.5 pounds per year, with a maximum monthly release rate of 0.7 pound of N per 1,000 sq ft.
Got that? The rule of law is what governs our way of life and safeguards our freedom. A society with too many laws unevenly enforced encourages lawlessness because no one has respect for the law anymore. There are some carve outs for lawn professionals and for phosphorus application with soil testing and weather conditions, but really just don’t fertilize your lawn in the winter. Put up holiday decorations, trim your bushes or do something else.

According to the University of Maryland Extension, fertilizer sold for suburban lawns accounts for approximately 44% of all fertilizer sold in Maryland. Turf grasses are ubiquitous in the suburban and urban landscape of the Washington Metropolitan Area and the rest of the United States. There are various types of environmental impacts from lawns, especially on water resources. We do tend to over fertilize and should not, but regulating homeowners with vague and inconsistent enforcement does not seem quite fair.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Study Groundwater Resources Before Developing Rural Area

Prince William County’s Rural Crescent is nestled into the eastern edge of the Fauquier County. Groundwater does not abide by county lines, but sometimes rivers, streams and changes in geology are where the counties were divided. For example Bull Run Mountain separates Prince William County from Fauquier County north of Waterfall Road. The geology and water resources differ on either side of Bull Run Mountain. South of Route 66 the County line was simply drawn through what was once all farm land without regard to water sheds. Prince William County needs to learn from the experience of our neighbors before we blunder into unsustainable development and water use.

Fauquier County planned for most of their future development in what they call their "service districts." The County has eight Service Districts. The Service Districts include: Bealeton, Catlett, Marshall, Midland, New Baltimore, Opal, Remington and Warrenton. Portions of Warrenton, Bealeton, New Baltimore, Marshall, and Remington are currently served by public water and sewer, Catlett is served by public water and in Opal water service is under development.

Much of Fauquier’s water supply is from groundwater drawn from fractured bedrock aquifers for drinking and irrigation water. Currently, the county uses 3.9 million gallons of water a day for public supply. The water demand for agricultural and private use are not counted in that number, but those needs must continue to be met. The availability of groundwater is dependent upon subsurface geologic conditions which are not uniform throughout Fauquier County, the rainfall and the ground cover. In order to ensure the long-term sustainability, availability and quality of groundwater resources, Fauquier has discovered that they must manage their groundwater resources including paying attention to the natural watershed drainage areas and protect their well head areas from contamination.

Fauquier Water and Sanitation Authority (FCWSA) and Fauquier County have invested more than$100 million in wells and water infrastructure throughout the county. The County built out their public water supply system without identifying the groundwater recharge areas for its system of wells. Until recently there had been no money spent on protecting the wells and their recharge zones. Changes in land use have impacted the water quality and availability most notably in Marshall.

Suburban development has increased water-supply demands, added impervious surfaces that may have reduced groundwater recharge, and possibly caused transfers of water between water basins through water distribution and sewer systems. When the county designed and built the service areas for the various communities natural watershed and water availability was not considered. At the time little was know about the groundwater hydrology of the area.

With a groundwater wells a key factor isn’t just how much water you’re pumping out of the ground, but rather where in the watershed and in what geologic formations you are pumping. Different locations within the county have different water availability. The County can’t change the underlying geology or control the rate or pattern of groundwater recharge. Instead Fauquier must yield to nature.

Fauquier County is in the midst of a groundwater study estimated to cost half a million dollars. The study was designed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and spearheaded by the USGS and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The goals of the study were:
  • Develop a county-wide water-budget model to adequately characterize the range of past and current hydrologic conditions affecting aquifers;
  • Couple groundwater and surface-water monitoring to permit assessment of the relationships between groundwater withdrawals and base flow in streams, and the effects of new or increased groundwater withdrawals;
  • Develop tools and collect data to estimate the impacts of the overall trends in development and population growth on the water resources. This information would ultimately contribute to a future decision mechanism for allocation of water resources based on a physically-based, technical flow model.
Early results from the study found differences in the presumed soil-water balance. The USGS reported that with and actual annual precipitation of 40-56 inches a year the 20 year average recharge in the county varied between 2-10 inches a year NOT the presumed 10-14 inches a year that the FCWSA and their consultants had been using. In addition, during a drought years recharge in the county was less than 2-6 inches and the crystalline rock in the northern portion of the county dries out quickly in a drought-it has limited water storage. Differences were significant among the aquifers in the county.

The study is expected to be completed in mid-2021 and should address most of the issues and challenges to the development of the County’s water supply and the professional management of its water resources. Fauquier County waited to begin the study until Marshall had inadequate water to meet the demands for fire protection. To identify an uncontaminated additional water supply, FCWSA installed a well located outside the service area and added two water storage tanks to solve the immediate problem. Prince William County needs to learn from the experience of Fauquier County and study the groundwater and water resources before we plan for further development in the rural area.

In the USGS slide below you can see that the areas covered that are in Prince William County have an annual groundwater recharge of less than 2.5 inches a year. This is despite rainfall that ranged between 40-56 inches a year during the period covered. Impervious surfaces that added to a watershed by development will significantly reduce the groundwater recharge rate.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Occoquan Dam Siren Test

Next Wednesday, November 13, 2019 Fairfax Water will test the Occoquan Dam siren system. The sirens are installed along the banks of the Occoquan River between the Town of Occoquan and Belmont Bay. People living and commuting in the area will hear a loud siren at 10 am on Wednesday November 13th .

The Occoquan Dam, also known as “the High Dam” was built in the 1950s to create the Occoquan Reservoir that now holds approximately 8.3 billion gallons of water. The dam is owned and maintained by Fairfax Water who performs regular maintenance inspects the dam regularly. Fairfax Water states that “Rigorous maintenance and improvements to the dam have made it even stronger today than when it was constructed. It is extremely unlikely that the dam would become structurally compromised but we still want everyone to be prepared and safe.”

In 2012 Fairfax Water, Town of Occoquan, Fairfax County, and Prince William County installed the siren warning system as a precaution in the unlikely event of a structural failure. The siren is to alert folks downstream of the dam of the failure so they can evacuated to higher ground. The sirens are used because the Town of Occoquan felt that a siren system would be the most effective way to alert people in the unlikely event of a dam failure. You can also sign up to receive news and updates from either Fairfax and or Prince William Counties on your devices. You may choose to receive notifications via phone calls, text messaging, e-mail and more.

To sign up for Fairfax Alerts, visit:
To sign up for Prince William County Alerts, visit:

In the unlikely event of a structural failure at the dam, a loud siren will sound, and residents and visitors in the impact zone indicated in red should immediately evacuated to higher elevations to avoid the torrent of 8.3 billion gallons of water. Those on the water should get to land.
from Fairfax Water to see if your home is in impact zone 

Monday, November 4, 2019

The Rural Crescent May Not Always Have Water

Virginia State law requires that Counties plan to have good quality water for all its residents present and future. This became part of the law in 2018 when the Virginia Legislature amended the enabling legislation for the comprehensive planning process (§§ 15.2-2223 and 15.2-2224 of the Code of Virginia ) to require planning for the continued availability, quality and sustainability of groundwater and surface water resources. However, the current proposals from the Prince William County Planning Office, and from various community groups and landowners for the future of the Rural Area do not address this extremely important issue. Our water supply is NOT unlimited and without planning and management it is not sustainable. Without a sustainable supply of water there is no future for the existing and future residents of the Rural Crescent.

Changing the character of the Rural Crescent (or Rural Area as it's also called) to include cluster development houses clustered in “transition areas” or even increasing the current population could further impact water availability to the existing residents and impact base flow to our rivers.  There are already indications that groundwater resources have been decreasing in the past 15 years despite having normal or higher rainfall for most of that period. Without proper planning and management of impervious surfaces, density of development and water demand, groundwater resources may prove to be inadequate to supply reliable and sustainable well water to all current and future residents. There are indications from the Prince William Service Authority, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NASA research that a problem with groundwater supplies is beginning to appear in Prince William County.

Currently, public water in the Evergreen area in the northwest edge of the Rural Crescent is supplied by a series of groundwater wells. Based on the recent PW Service Authority study of the Evergreen water system,  that system does not have adequate capacity to withstand a leak nor to recover from a problem, let alone provide supply to a larger area. While groundwater is a renewable resource it is NOT unlimited. The sad truth is that we do not know how much water we have in the groundwater basin underlying the Rural Crescent, the Culpeper basin. We do not know what the sustainable rate of ground water use is for the area, but we seem to have exceeded that rate.

The USGS and NASA tells us that our groundwater basin is under stress. In a study published in 2013 in Science, "Water in the Balance," researchers looked at the ten year trend in groundwater in the United States. The lead author was Jay Famiglietti, a professor of Earth System Science at the University of California, Irvine, and Director of the UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling (UCCHM). and co-author Matt Rodell, Chief of the Hydrological Sciences Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Using data from the NASA Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE)  satellites collected over a 10 year period they were able to track changing groundwater availability all over the United States and the world. The GRACE satellites were launched in 2002 and were replaced in 2018 with the second mission satellites. The data set was for 2003 throught 2013.
from Famiglietti et al  "Water in the Balance" 1

The GRACE mission is able to monitor monthly water storage changes within river basins and aquifers that are 200,000 km2 or larger in area using small changes in gravity. Though their resolution is improving, more data needs to be gathered to study groundwater at a smaller scale. In the image above from their study, the yellow and orange area seen in the Virginia Piedmont region is indicating that the groundwater mass decreased over the ten years of the study.  Using GRACE data, the researchers were able to identify several water ‘hotspots’ in the United States, including our own Mid-Atlantic region as can be seen on the image below and the graph.
from Famiglietti et al  "Water in the Balance"1
In addition, the U.S. Geological Survey, USGS, maintains a group of groundwater monitoring wells in Virginia that measure groundwater conditions daily and can be viewed online. Only one of the Virginia wells is within the Rural Crescent. That well is in the northwest portion of the Rural Area just west or Route 15 in the Culpeper groundwater basin. Daily monitoring data available from that well go back to 2004 (other records exist further back and appear in the table below covering 39 years 1975-2014). What can be seen in the graph below is the slow decline in the water level despite not experiencing any significant droughts since 2008 and having the wettest year on record in 2018. The decline is modest over this period, but will continue and get worse over time especially if demand for groundwater is increased and impervious surfaces continue to grow, reducing recharge.
USGS monitoring well 49V Prince William County VA
The water level in a groundwater well usually fluctuates naturally during the year which is seen in the above data. Groundwater levels tend to be highest in the early spring in response to winter snow melt and spring rainfall when the groundwater is recharged. Groundwater levels begin to fall in May and typically continue to decline during summer as plants and trees use the available shallow groundwater to grow and streamflow draws water. Natural groundwater levels usually reach their lowest point in late September or October when fall rains begin to recharge the groundwater again. In the monitoring well the fall lows have been getting lower and the recharge even in 2018, the wettest year on record, did not reach the level of recharge during a drought in 2007-8. We appear to have a problem in this area. There is no information available in any other area of the Rural Crescent.
drought in Virginia from 2000-2019 from US Drought Monitor
Land use changes that significantly (more than 10%) increase impervious cover from roads, pavement and buildings does two things. It reduces the open area for rain and snow to seep into the ground and percolate into the groundwater and  the impervious surfaces cause stormwater velocity to increase preventing water from having enough time to to percolate into the earth, increasing storm flooding and preventing recharge of groundwater from occurring. Slowly, this can reduce water supply over time. Increasing population density as we have been doing increases water use. Significant increases in groundwater use and reduction in aquifer recharge can result in the slowly falling water levels over time showing that the water is being used up. Unless there is an earthquake or other geological event groundwater changes are not abrupt and problems with water supply tend to happen slowly as demand increases with construction and recharge is impacted by adding paved roads, driveways, houses and other impervious surfaces. That appears to be what is happening in this area of Prince William County.

Sustainability of groundwater is hyper-local. Little is known about the sustainability of our groundwater basins, but potential problems are still at a manageable stage. Groundwater models and data from more monitoring wells can help develop a picture of the volume of the water within the groundwater basin and at what rate it is being used and at what rate it is being recharged. We need to know if the current and planned use of our groundwater is sustainable even in drought years. We need to understand how ground cover by roads, parking lots and buildings will impact groundwater recharge and what level of groundwater withdrawals are sustainable on site to determine if a proposed change in land use or additional use of groundwater is sustainable before it is granted.

As Drs. Famiglietti and Rodell point out in their paper without coordinated and proactive management, the aquifers supplying our region will be depleted.

All the lows have been exceeded in the past 5 years.
The above data was "clipped" from the old USGS site for well 49 v before they changed over. It's useful because its got decades of data tracking and the lowest groundwater levels in the past few years have fallen below the lowest levels recorded in the 35-40 years before that.

1. Water in the Balance;By James S. Famiglietti, Matthew Rodell