Groundwater and Aquifers

Beneath the Pine Barrens there are a few sandy layers that contain enough water to be exploited for human use. These water bearing zones are known as aquifers.

Image of Aquifer recharge[+ ZOOM] Aquifer recharge © USGS

These aquifers are separated by less porous silt and clay layers that act as semi-confining barriers, and prevent flow between aquifers. There are only a few aquifers beneath the Pine Barrens that can be used for domestic water use. From the oldest to youngest they are the Potomac-Raritan-Magothy (also referred to as the Lower, Middle and Upper aquifers), Englishtown, Wenonah/Mount Laurel, Piney Point and Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system. From an ecological perspective, the most important aquifer is the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer, since it is the shallowest, and provides water to streams, rivers and wetlands.

Image of Water cycle storage zones.[+ ZOOM] Water cycle storage zones. © USGS

It is from these aquifers that most people living in the Pine Barrens get their water for everyday use. Some people have their own wells, others rely on the local water company to provide them with water, either way, most if not all of that water is derived from groundwater sources. Some towns in the western part of the Pine Barrens now supplement their groundwater needs with treated water from the Delaware River.

The Pinelands Science-Policy Forum on the Kirkwood Cohansey Aquifer was held in March 2012 to focus on the sustainable planning for future water use in the Pinelands. Click here for more information.

Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer

All of the aquifers beneath the Pinelands are important since they provide drinking water for residents of the area and because they are limited in number. From an ecological perspective, however, the shallow Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system has special significance.

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