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Concurrent Sessions - Session C

Impacts of Water Withdrawals on Groundwater and Surface Water Supply and Quality

Some PowerPoint presentations are available for download. Please click on session presentation titles below to access the download link.

Session Chair:
Dan Locke, Maine Geological Survey


Maine is often thought of as a water-rich state. Are water withdrawals from groundwater aquifers and surface water sources just a drop in the bucket, or are they a substantial part of Maine’s water stores? In addition to reports on the status of water withdrawals in Maine and the region, this session will focus on relevant regulations and emerging issues that are likely to affect the future or water withdrawals.

Session Presentations:


Community Water Systems and Chapter 587: Managing the Protection of In-Stream Flows and Lake and Pond Water Levels
PowerPoint presentation available for download.

Andrews L. Tolman, C.G. and Michael D. Abbott, P.E., C.G.

Maine CDC Drinking Water Program;;

Maine continues to evolve a water policy aimed at providing safe and secure sources of water for human and ecosystem use.  While we are a water-rich state, we have areas where real conflicts exist, particularly along our rocky coast during dry years when the summer population exceeds the short-term supply of water. 

After more than seven years of negotiation, Maine adopted a set of flow and level rules (Chapter 587) that are co-administered by the Maine DEP, Maine CDC Drinking Water Program, and the Office of Public Advocate.  As we implement the rules, we are working to build system capacity through long term source management, interconnection, and source diversity among systems.  The Maine Water Utilities Association has developed tools for systems to evaluate options for increasing efficiency, and we believe the logic of cost, energy, and water savings will make mandates unnecessary.

The DWP conducted System Design Capacity assessments for fifty surface water systems, in some cases providing technical and/or financial assistance to increase the reliability of water sources and reduce potential for ecosystem impacts. Systems where the resource is at or near the demand threshold are working through the Community Water System Withdrawal Certificate process. We encourage systems to plan for increases in efficiency that make sense for the system, the ratepayers/consumers and the water resource, and will help to cope with the increased variability we see in precipitation and temperature.  Each system will need to adapt in a way that reflects the local hydrology, water demand, and politics.

Groundwater modeling of streamflow depletion and flows between watersheds in the Branch Brook area

*Please contact Martha Nielson for a copy of the PowerPoint presentation.

Martha G. Nielsen1 and Daniel B. Locke2

  1. U.S. Geological Survey, Augusta, ME
  2. Maine Geological Survey, Augusta, ME

The effect of groundwater withdrawals on streamflows and inter-basin groundwater flow in unconsolidated deposits in southern coastal Maine was assessed by a cooperative study between the U.S. Geological Survey and the Maine Geological Survey. A MODFLOW groundwater model was constructed for the Branch Brook and Merriland River watersheds and adjacent parts of the Mousam River watershed in the towns of Sanford, Wells, and Kennebunk.  Calibration of the model was completed using groundwater level measurements at 150 wells and streamflows measured at 13 locations within the model area. Withdrawals from municipal wells in the headwaters of the watersheds and near the coast were determined to influence natural stream flows by about 11-18 percent in small headwater streams and by about 5-6 percent in Branch Brook and the Merriland River near the coast. Groundwater flows between watersheds defined by surface features accounted for about 15-20 percent of the total water budgets for the watersheds under pumping conditions and for about 10 percent under unstressed conditions. This indicates that the groundwater divides do not fully correspond with the surface-water divides and that there is natural groundwater transfer between watersheds, which is enhanced by the groundwater withdrawals in the study area.

Managing for Sustainability: Spring site examples from Kingfield and Hollis, Maine

*Please contact Mark Dubois for a copy of the PowerPoint presentation.

Mark Dubois

Nestle Waters N.A., Poland Spring Bottling Company

Poland Spring began bottling Maine spring water in 1845. Only Maine spring water sources produce Poland Spring, the most popular brand of spring water in the United States, distributed primarily in the Northeast.   Our newest factory in Kingfield began production in 2009. The Hollis factory starting producing water in 2000 – it is the largest spring water bottling facility in North America and the second largest in the world.

Long term sustainability is key to Poland Spring and its parent company Nestle Waters. Only stable water level trends can ensure the protection required of our spring locations. The resource protection and viability of spring water in Maine has led to over 500 million dollars of in-state investment and ~800 jobs for Mainers.

Poland Spring manages spring water sources for sustainability by monitoring hundreds of surface and ground water stations each month at our nine locations in Maine. This presentation covers examples of long-term monitoring methods and trends from two spring sites in Kingfield and Hollis, Maine.

The Federal Food and Drug Administration standards for bottled water product also specifically state that the maintenance of spring flow conditions must exist even under a pumping condition of nearby sources, or boreholes. In Maine, the Drinking Water Program oversees compliance for spring water following the applicable provisions of the Code of Federal Regulations.  

Federal requirements for spring water flow and labeling overlap state permit conditions requiring monitoring, maintenance and reporting of stream flow and groundwater levels. Spring sites represent overflowing aquifer conditions. These overflowing conditions occur in discharge zones that feed surface water to area streams. Poland Spring is required to maintain compliance with stream flow criteria and other permit conditions that date back to the issuance of permits for all of our spring and factory locations.

The Sustainability of Floods Pond – Bangor Water District’s Public Water Supply
PowerPoint presentation available for download.

Rick Pershken and Dina Page

Bangor Water District, Bangor, ME

The presentation includes a brief history of the Bangor Water District and the decision made in the 1950’s to change its source of supply from the Penobscot River to Floods Pond in Otis.  The use of water in Bangor is discussed, including residential per capita consumption data, commercial uses, and estimates of unaccounted for water.  The method for deriving the estimated safe yield of Floods Pond is explained, and historical data showing water usage, rainfall, water levels, and other parameters used to monitor the water budget will be included. The presentation concludes with an overview of watershed protection as the sustainable quality of Bangor’s upland water source is as important as its sustainable yield.

The Hydrogeologic Evaluation of the Tomah Aquifer for a Source of Bottled Spring Water, Indian Township, Maine
PowerPoint presentation available for download.

Albert E. Hodsdon

A.E. Hodsdon Engineering, Inc.
The Passamaquoddy Tribe is evaluating the sand and gravel aquifers on their lands in Indian Township for a source of water for a new spring water bottling facility. This presentation will cover preliminary testing of the Tomah aquifer, areas of recharge and the relationship between ground water levels and springs along Tomah Stream, long-term safe yield, and water quality. This presentation will also discuss the next steps in the process of developing the site as a source of high quality bottled spring water.

Assistance provided in Maine by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to the agricultural community for irrigation needs
PowerPoint presentation available for download.

Daniel J. Baumert

USDA/Natural Resources Conservation Service, Bangor, ME

 The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Maine provides technical and financial assistance to the agricultural community for various irrigation needs. NRCS assistance is primarily related to improving irrigation system efficiencies, saving water, and reducing irrigation water withdrawal impacts on aquatic species and habitats of streams, lakes. This assistance is primarily provided through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Agricultural Management Act (AMA). NRCS helps private land owners in the planning, design, and installation of systems ranging from large center pivot sprinklers to small micro/drip emitters. Water source development such as irrigation ponds and reservoirs replacing existing surface water sources is also done through the NRCS EQIP and AMA programs. This presentation will summarize the various irrigation related assistance NRCS provides to the agricultural community in Maine.     

Summit Spring: Past, Present and Future

*Please contact Bryan Pullen for a copy of the PowerPoint presentation.

Bryan Pullen
Summit Spring Water, Harrison, Maine

This talk will focus on the agricultural nature of Summit Spring including how water has been gathered from this centuries old free-flowing spring and the general history of the source. The difference between the historic definition of spring water and its current interpretation (since 2000) will be discussed as well as the difference between Summit Spring and most other springs in the world.

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