Aquifers--water-bearing deposits of sand and gravel, glacial till, and fractured bedrock--provide an extensive and readily accessible ground-water supply in Massachusetts. Ground water affects our everyday lives, not just in terms of how much water is available, but also in terms of the position of ground-water levels in relation to land surface. Knowledge of ground-water levels is needed by Federal, State, and local agencies to help plan, manage, and protect ground-water supplies, and by private construction companies for site planning and evaluation.
A primary part of the mission of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Water Resources Division, is the systematic collection of ground-water, surface-water, and water-quality data. These data are needed to manage and protect the nation‘s water resources. The Massachusetts-Rhode Island District of the USGS, in cooperation with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management (DEM), Office of Water Resources, and county and town environmental agencies, has maintained a network of observation wells throughout the Commonwealth since the mid 1930‘s. The purpose of this network is to monitor seasonal and long-term changes in groundwater storage in different lithologic, topographic, and geographic settings. These data are analyzed to provide a monthly index of ground-water conditions to aid in water-resources management and planning, and to define long-term changes in water levels resulting from manmade stresses (such as pumping and construction-site drainage) and natural stresses (such as floods and droughts).