Availability of ground water in the branch river basin, Providence County, Rhode Island

Open-File Report 18-74
Prepared in cooperation with the Rhode Island Water Resources Board
By:  and 



Stratified glacial drift consisting largely of sand and gravel constitutes the only aquifer capable of supporting continuous yields of 100 gpm (6.3 1/s) or more to individual wells. The aquifer covers about a third of the 79 mi 2 (205 km2 ) study area, occurring mainly in stream valleys that are less than a mile wide. Its saturated thickness is commonly 40 to 60ft (12 to 18 m); its transmissivity is commonly 5,000 to 8,000 ft 2/day (460 to 740m2 /day). The aquifer is hydraulically connected to streams that cross it and much of the water from heavily pumped wells will consist of infiltration induced from them. Potential sustained yield from most parts of the aquifer is limited chiefly by the rate at which infiltration can be induced from streams or low streamflow, whichever is smaller. Ground-water withdrawals deplete streamflow; and if large-scale development of ground water is not carefully planned and managed, periods of no streamflow may result during dry weather.

Potential sustained yield varies with the scheme of well development, and is evaluated for selected areas by mathematically simulating pumping from assumed schemes of wells in models of the stream-aquifer system. Results indicate that sustained yields of 5.5, 3.4, 1.6, and 1.3 mgd (0.24, 0.15, 0.07, and 0.06 m3 /s) can be obtained from the stratified-drift aquifer near Slatersville, Oakland, Harrisville, and Chepachet, respectively. Pumping at these rates will not cause streams to go dry, if the water is returned to streams near points of withdrawal. A larger ground-water yield can be obtained, if periods of no streamflow along reaches of principal streams are acceptable.

Inorganic chemical quality of water in the stream-aquifer system is suitable for most purposes; the water is soft, slightly acidic, and generally contains less than 100 milligrams per litre of dissolved solids. Continued good quality ground water depends on maintenance of good quality of water in streams, because much of the water pumped from wells will be infiltrated from streams.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Availability of ground water in the branch river basin, Providence County, Rhode Island
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 18-74
DOI 10.3133/ofr1874
Year Published 1974
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Description Report: v, 39 p.; 1 Plate: 34.54 x 39.14 inches
Country United States
State Rhode Island
County Providence County
Other Geospatial Branch River
Scale 24000
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page