The common recommendation that recharge should be estimated from multiple methods is sound, but the inherent differences of the methods make it difficult to assess the accuracy of differing results. In this study, four methods for estimating groundwater recharge and two methods for estimating base flow (as a proxy for recharge) are compared at two hydrologic research sites in east-central Pennsylvania, USA. Results from the multiple methods all provided reasonable estimates of groundwater recharge that differed considerably. The estimates of mean annual recharge for the period 1994-2001 ranged from 22.9 to 35.7 cm - about 45% of the mean of all estimates. For individual years, recharge estimates from the multiple methods ranged from 30 to 42% of the mean value during the dry years and 64 to 76% of the mean value during wet years. Comparison of multiple methods was found to be useful for determining the range of plausible recharge rates and highlighting the uncertainty of the estimates. ?? US Government 2008.
Additional publication details
Comparison of recharge estimates at a small watershed in east-central Pennsylvania, USA