Ground-water discharge to the streams sustains year-round streamflow in the upper White River basin. This discharge, referred to as ground-water runoff or base runoff, is considered to be an index to the amount of ground water available for development. A comparison of the variations of groundwater runoff and aquifer distribution in the basin shows that the areas of best development potential are areas where thick sand and gravel aquifers are adjacent to the streams. The average ground-water runoff for these areas is between 400,000 and 500,000 gallons per day per square mile.
The most permeable aquifers in the basin are the sand and gravel deposits of Quaternary age. These aquifers occur mainly as relatively thick elongate bodies along bedrock valleys and as relatively thin sheetlike deposits at or near land surface. The representative hydraulic conductivity of these aquifers ranges from 1,500 to 2,500 gallons per day per square foot. The limestone and dolomite formations of the bedrock are a source of moderate quantities of water.
The long-term average streamflow in the basin is approximately 0.9 cubic feet per second per square mile. The yearly average discharge varies from about one-fourth to twice the long-term average. The 7-day 10-year low flow ranges from about 0.01 to 0.3 cubic feet per second per square mile; the main-stem flow ranges from 0.10 to 0.13 cubic feet per second per square mile.
The water in the aquifers is predominately a very hard calcium bicarbonate type; it is generally high in iron and contains a moderate amount of dissolved solids. Fresh water (1,000 milligrams per liter dissolved solids or less) is present to depths of approximately 400 feet below land surface. In the tributaries and in the headwaters region of the White River, the composition of surface water is very similar to that of ground water. The quality of the water in the White River deteriorates in the downstream direction owing to the cumulative effects of sewage effluent.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Water resources of the upper White River basin, east-central Indiana