My Aquifer > Aquifer Protection in the LPRV > How is an aquifer protected?


There are many types of approaches that can be taken to protect a ground water resource. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency created a compendium of protection measures which various communities have adopted around the country. They fall into various categories such as Regulatory (e.g. zoning, subdivision controls, health-related restrictions), Non-regulatory (e.g. land acquisition, voluntary restrictions), and Legislative (e.g. wellhead protection areas, special management areas such as a Sensitive Resource designation).

The EPA compendium has been examined by the Portneuf Ground Water Forum and winnowed to a list of potentially applicable types of management tools which could be adopted in the lower Portneuf Valley to enhance ground water protection. A preliminary list of such approaches will be recommended to local government as part of an EPA-funded effort to document existing information and provide guidance on ground water protection.

Maps of the relative ease with which water can move to the water table can also be used to guide planners to recognize where ground water is more or less susceptible to land-use activities which artificially recharge the aquifer (e.g. septic sewage disposal, drain wells). An example of a preliminary vulnerability map, showing the relative ease with which water can infiltrate to the water table, was created with best available information on soil type and drainage characteristics, surface slope, depth to water, aquifer characteristics, and characteristics of soil and rock between the surface and the water table. Although such maps are preliminary because the information upon which they are based is incomplete or insufficiently imprecise, they provide a general picture of the areas in the valley which are most and least vulnerable to surface impacts.

However, regardless of how protective methods are justified or which specific methods are proposed, none will achieve the goal of enhanced ground water protection unless adopted, implemented, and enforced. One of the impediments to adoption is that enhanced protection usually imposes stricter controls on land use. Also, since aquifers tend to cross political and jurisdictional boundaries, multi-agency cooperation must be secured prior to determining what protective measures and regulatory approaches will be considered.