Characteristics of and Areas Contributing Recharge to Public-Supply Springs in Massachusetts

Water-Resources Investigations Report 2003-4266




The geohydrologic and physical characteristics were determined for 28 public-supply springs, 27 of which are in western Massachusetts. Discharge ranged from zero at various small intermittent springs to more than 240 gallons per minute at Waubeeka Springs in Williamstown, Massachusetts. To determine the annual variability of spring discharge, discharge from 12 springs was measured during different seasonal conditions from June 2001 to November 2002, and the discharge from Red Mill Spring in Clarksburg, Massachusetts was recorded continuously from April 2002 to November 2002. The area contributing recharge to each spring was delineated on the basis of the geohydrologic conditions determined from reconnaissance investigations; these areas ranged from 0.010 to 0.682 square mile. Ground-water recharge, estimated on the basis of average discharge and the areas contributing recharge, ranged from 0.5 to 24.4 inches per year. High ground-water recharge rates for some of the high-discharge springs indicate that the areas contributing recharge for these springs may be too small. Detailed water-table mapping in the vicinity of two low-discharge springs indicates that the area contributing recharge to some of the smaller springs may be smaller than the area indicated by reconnaissance investigation. Monthly flow durations and low flow statistics were determined for the index streamflow-gaging stations for a 25-year period from 1976 to 2000. Annual hydrographs were prepared for each index station from median streamflows at the 50-percent monthly flow duration, normalized by drainage area. A median monthly flow of 1 ft3/s/mi2 was used to split hydrographs into a high-flow period (November?May), and a low-flow period (June?October). The hydrographs were used to classify index stations into groups with similar median monthly flow durations. Index stations were divided into four regional groups, roughly paralleling the coast, to characterize streamflows for November to May; and into two groups, on the basis of base-flow index and percentage of sand and gravel in the contributing area, for June to October.

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USGS Numbered Series
Characteristics of and Areas Contributing Recharge to Public-Supply Springs in Massachusetts
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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76 p.