Summary appraisals of the Nation's ground-water resources; New England region

Professional Paper 813-T




The New England Region has a total area of about 62,400 square miles (160,000 km2) and includes the States of Maine and New Hampshire, eastern Vermont, most of Massachusetts and Connecticut, all of Rhode Island, and a small part of southeastern New York. The longest stream is the Connecticut River, which extends from northern Vermont and New Hampshire, through western Massachusetts and central Connecticut, and drains into Long Island Sound. Other major streams are the Penobscot and Kennebec Rivers in Maine, the Androscoggin in Maine and New Hampshire, the Merrimack in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and the Housatonic in western Massachusetts and Connecticut. Of the smaller streams, some, like the Charles River in the Boston area, are widely known because of their proximity to large population centers.

Ground water occurs in two types of geologic materials: consolidated rocks and unconsolidated sedimentary rocks. The consolidated rocks underlie the entire region. They include crystalline igneous and metamorphic rocks and consolidated sedimentary rocks-shale, sandstone, and limestone and other carbonate rocks. The most productive unconsolidated rocks are sand and gravel of glacial origin. These deposits occur all over Cape Cod and nearby islands in southeastern Massachusetts and in many valleys throughout the region.

Ground water is derived from precipitation. It can be intercepted for use by pumping from wells (1) before it discharges to the streams as base flow and (2) before it drains directly into coastal wetlands, bays, Long Island Sound, or the ocean.

Withdrawals of fresh ground water in 1975 aggregated about 220 billion gallons (830 hm3), or about 12 percent of the total freshwater withdrawals (from all sources) of 1,800 billion gallons (6,800 hm3). In view of the available ground-water reserves, considerable additional water, for the anticipated continuing increase in population and economic activity, could be developed.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Summary appraisals of the Nation's ground-water resources; New England region
Series title:
Professional Paper
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Government Printing Office
Publisher location:
Washington, D.C.
vi, 23 p.
United States
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont
Online Only (Y/N):
Additional Online Files (Y/N):