Groundwater Resources Section

Section Chief : Rick Bolich 

The Groundwater Resources Section (GWRS) within the Division Of Water Resources (DWR) is responsible for measuring, protecting, and preserving the high quality of North Carolina's groundwater resources. This is accomplished by maintaining a statewide network of groundwater monitoring wells, implementing permitting and compliance program for installation of certain types of wells, and overseeing site assessment and groundwater corrective action at DWR permitted facilities with groundwater impacts. Learn more about groundwater..

The section has one branch and three programs:

Groundwater Management Branch

Branch Chief: Nat Wilson

Staff Directory  

This Branch provides technical and management support for the development and use of groundwater resources in the State of North Carolina. Staff provides both quantity and quality expertise to understand groundwater because it is an essential resource in the State. More than 48% of North Carolina's population receives its drinking water supplies from groundwater. This includes 13.5% of all drinking water from public water supplies, and 100% of all self-supplied domestic drinking water supplies (as of 2010, about 35% of the State's population -- 3,300,000 North Carolinians -- received domestic water supplies from private wells).

The Branch is responsible for the installation, maintenance, and measurement of a statewide network of groundwater monitoring wells. Water levels and samples collected from the network wells are used to assess the availability and quality of groundwater, drought conditions, and areas of aquifer overuse. 

The Branch also manages the Central Coastal Plains Capacity Use Area (CCPCUA), which regulates the withdrawal of groundwater in 15 of North Carolina's coastal counties. The CCPCUA program has helped the aquifers in Eastern NC recover from over-pumping and allowed those communities that depend on them to have a more long-term sustainable water source.

In addition to its use for drinking water, groundwater is withdrawn extensively for irrigation and livestock, mining, and for self-supplied commercial and industrial uses (those that are not served by public water supplies).

The Groundwater Management Branch's role within the Division of Water Resources is to investigate North Carolina's groundwater resources and the present and potential demands on these resources. When water use conflicts, or quality concerns, or water shortages occur, the Branch can do studies and recommend alternatives including Capacity Use Designations and other measures to resolve problems. Mapping aquifers, tracking water use, and estimating future conditions are accomplished by employing methods described in the Research and Analysis Techniques portion of this web page. Once the facts of the situation are known, then Branch employees work to educate water users and manage use of the groundwater system.

The Branch frequently helps individual citizens throughout North Carolina, engineering and hydrogeological consultants from many states including North Carolina, and other local, State, and Federal government agencies. The Branch assists the Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources with mining permit applications and we work with the United States Geological Survey to monitor many wells throughout North Carolina. We also keep the Environmental Management Commission abreast of developing groundwater resource management issues. Lastly, as a result of our studies we have brought together a great deal of hydrogeological data including groundwater levels, hydrogeologic framework, digitized geophysical logs, and groundwater quality parameters. We are committed to give the general public access to that data.

View Current Branch Goals & Accomplishments


Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program

Staff Directory.

This program is responsible for implementing well construction regulations for injection wells, in-situ groundwater remediation, geothermal heating and cooling wells, and Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) wells. The UIC program protects groundwater quality by preventing illegal waste disposal and by regulating the construction and operation of wells used for injecting approved substances, aquifer recharge and other activities.

Current statewide UIC Well Inventory, as of 10/26/20.*

*NOTE: NCDEQ assumes no liability for the accuracy and completeness of the data attached as information included in this database is inputted and/or reported by governmental agencies, members of the public, industry, and other third parties.

Groundwater Corrective Action Program

Staff Directory

This program helps responsible parties follow the 15A NCAC 02L rules and applicable NC General Statutes with regards to initial response, site assessments and corrective action for certain sites. Staff in this program are responsible for development of rules dealing with groundwater quality and well construction. This program also provides consistency in interpretation and implementation of site assessment activities and corrective action measures between the DEQ regional offices. Currently a major duty of this program is providing regulatory oversight for the assessment and cleanup of Coal Ash Impoundments in North Carolina and the re-adoption of the 15A NCAC 02L.0100 rules.

Well Construction and Permitting

Staff Directory.

This program oversees rules related to well construction (15A NCAC 02C) and certain types of well permits, such as those for high capacity water supply wells and groundwater monitoring wells.