Steady-state, two-and three-dimensional, ground-water flow models coupled with a particle- tracking program were evaluated to determine their effectiveness in delineating contributing areas of existing and hypothetical public-supply wells pumping from two contrasting stratified-drift aquifers of Cape Cod, Mass. Several of the contri- buting areas delineated by use of the three- dimensional models do not conform to simple ellipsoidal shapes that are typically delineated by use of a two-dimensional analytical and numerical modeling techniques, include dis- continuous areas of the water table, and do not surround the wells. Because two-dimensional areal models do not account for vertical flow, they cannot adequately represent many of the hydro- geologic and well-design variables that were shown to complicate the delineation of contributing areas in these flow systems, including the presence of discrete lenses of 1ow hydraulic conductivity, large ratios of horizontal to ver- tical hydraulic conductivity, shallow streams, partially penetrating supply wells, and 1ow pumping rates (less than 0.1 million gallons per day). Nevertheless, contributing areas delineated for two wells in the simpler of the two flow systems--a thin (less than 100 feet), single- layer, uniform aquifer with near-ideal boundary conditions--were not significantly different for the two- or three-dimensional models of the natural system, for a pumping rate of 0.5 million gallons per day. Use of particle tracking helped identify the source of water to simulated wells, which included precipitation recharge, wastewater return flow, and pond water. Pond water and wastewater return flow accounted for as much as 73 and 40 percent, respectively, of the water captured by simulated wells.
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USGS Numbered Series
Particle-tracking analysis of contributing areas of public-supply wells in simple and complex flow systems, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
U.S. Geological Survey ;
USGS Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],