The commission also could seek out abandoned coal mines in Schuylkill and Carbon Counties. However, water quality varies from location to location and could require the use of treatment systems.
There are also thousands of quarries in the basin that could be utilized. In that case, water would need to be pumped in from an adjacent water body and pumped out when needed. That’s quite different from current storage, where dams impound water, which is then released by gravity.
There’s a lot of unanswered questions about what the future holds, Pindar said. In the Delaware River Basin, the flood of record and the drought of record occurred in 1955 and 1962 to 1967, respectively.
“What we’re trying to figure out is, with a repeat of the drought of record, is there enough water? But then also, if that drought of record might be changed by climate change, is there enough water?” Pindar said.
A separate study published early this year found there is enough groundwater in the Delaware River Basin to last at least until 2060.