Virginia's groundwater regulators have reversed earlier plans for a sharp cut in what they'll allow James City County to draw from its wells, granting the county secure access to its needs through 2027.
The Department of Environmental Quality, which had proposed cutting the amount of groundwater the county Service Authority could draw from its wells to 3.8 million gallons a day, has just issued a permit allowing the authority to draw 6 million gallons a day, County Administrator Bryan Hill said.
The authority currently draws about 5.3 million gallons a day.
The permit also would allow James City to draw up to 8.4 million gallons a day to handle future growth and economic development projects, Hill said.
Its old permit allowed the county to draw up to 8.8 million gallons a day.
The Department has been cutting the amounts groundwater users can draw because of its concern that the aquifer from which much of eastern Virginia gets its water is shrinking so quickly.
That's causing land to sink, which in combination with sea level rise is creating major flooding problems across Hampton Roads.
Hill said the new permit allows the county time to secure additional sources of water to meet its needs beyond the next century.
This story will be updated