Watershed Scale Aquifer Mapping and Groundwater Management
Introduction Groundwater resource management is critical to protecting drinking water resources. Through understanding groundwater on a regional scale (e.g., watershed or sub-watershed scale), informed decisions can be made about the management of groundwater resources and facilitate answering questions such as:
Where are the major aquifers in the region?
Where are the aquifer boundaries and what are its hydrogeologic properties?
How do we make sure that groundwater use is sustainable and what is the long-term sustainable yield of aquifers?
Where does groundwater come from and where does it go?
How do groundwater and surface water interact?
How vulnerable to contamination are aquifers in the region and how do we protect groundwater from potential contamination?
How do we ensure that groundwater resources are protected for future generations?
Our Approach Waterline approaches these questions by gaining an understanding of the hydrogeological system through extensive background data review, field verification, and data evaluation using state-of-the-art data processing and management tools. As a first step, a comprehensive background review is conducted to develop a conceptual hydrogeologic model and to identify data gaps. To supplement available regional interpretations and address data gaps, Waterline designs customized field programs to acquire the requisite information in a cost-sensitive manner. Field investigations often include but are not limited to:
Field verification survey of selected existing wells;
Preparing and inventory of springs;
Aquifer testing and water sampling of existing wells;
Conducting geophysical (electromagnetic and seismic) surveys; and
Drilling and installing new observation wells.
Waterline uses an in-house database and mapping applications to compile and organize complex regional data sets from a variety of sources. This database application is integrated with GIS (e.g., ArcHydro Groundwater and Leapfrog Hydro) and other hydrogeological software to prepare and present findings in a clear manner to both clients and the public. Groundwater Vulnerability Groundwater vulnerability mapping helps decision makers in planning and policy development. Vulnerability of groundwater to extraction and contamination can be accomplished by identifying the key recharge areas across the watershed. On a local scale, water wells can be protected by establishing wellhead protection zones. Groundwater Management Plans and Public Awareness Waterline creates groundwater management plans in a way that not only protects these resources in the short term but also helps to devise strategies to ensure the long-term sustainability of groundwater resources. Public awareness is essential for effectively managing groundwater resources. Waterline assists clients during public meetings and information sessions to educate the public on key groundwater management issues.