The Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer


17 Trillion Gallons and Not a Drop to Spare

Protect Water for People and the Pines

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New Jersey’s network of rivers, wetlands and ground water is the source of life from the Pinelands to the Jersey Shore to the Delaware River and beyond. Millions of people depend on New Jersey’s ground water every day for drinking, their economic wellbeing and quality of life.

Save the Source is a campaign by Pinelands Preservation Alliance to protect the 17-trillion gallon Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer, a vast reserve of fresh water that underlies southern New Jersey and all of the Pinelands.

The Kirkwood-Cohansey is one of the cleanest aquifers in America. Yet it is threatened by overuse, pollution and degradation.

The future of the aquifer is being set TODAY. Join us as we unveil the stories of people whose lives and livelihoods rely on a healthy groundwater supply. Help us in the coming year as we work to make protection of every drop of water in the Kirkwood-Cohansey a priority.

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Aquifer Stories

Plants that Thrive in the Aquifer

The Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer


Kirkwood Cohansey Map Final New Jersey Pinelands

Essential Facts About the Aquifer

  • It contains more than 17 trillion gallons of fresh water and lies beneath most of southern New Jersey.
  • Water flowing out of the ground from the aquifer represents about 90 percent of all water flowing in the streams and rivers in the Pinelands and southern New Jersey.
  • It supplies clean, fresh water to the Delaware River and Bay.
  • It is a “surficial” aquifer meaning it is exposed at the land surface in our wetlands, lakes and streams.
  • The aquifer is comprised mostly of water-saturated layers of sand and fine gravel and some clay-like material and extends from the land’s surface just beneath our feet to depths of up to about 1000 feet near the shore.
  • The aquifer is the groundwater supply for about one million residents and visitors in southern New Jersey, including shore communities.
  • Water pumped from the aquifer helps irrigate about 200,000 acres of farmlands.
  • Fresh water flowing from the aquifer into Barnegat Bay, Delaware Bay, Great Bay and Great Egg Harbor Bay and is critical to the health of fisheries and shellfish beds.

Threats to the Aquifer

  • The Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer is just beneath the land’s surface and easily polluted by fertilizers, pesticides and runoff from roads and parking lots.
  • About 3,000 wells pump an estimated 35 billion gallons from the aquifer each year.
  • Over-pumping of the aquifer can literally drain ponds and wetlands habitats with long-lasting harm to the Pinelands ecosystem.
  • Over-pumping can cause private and public drinking water wells to fail.
  • Polluting the aquifer will have long-lasting negative impacts on Pinelands plants and animals.

Learn More About the Aquifer