Potential ground-water contributions to reservoir storage were determined for nine reservoirs in Massachusetts that had shorelines in contact with sand and gravel aquifers. The effect of ground water on firm yield was not only substantial, but furthermore, the firm yield of a reservoir in contact with a sand and gravel aquifer was always greater when the ground-water contribution was included in the water balance. Increases in firm yield ranged from 2 to 113 percent, with a median increase in firm yield of 10 percent. Additionally, the increase in firm yield in two reservoirs was greater than 85 percent.
This study identified a set of equations that are based on an analytical solution to the ground-water-flow equation for the case of one-dimensional flow in a finite-width aquifer bounded by a linear surface-water feature such as a stream. These equations, which require only five input variables, were incorporated into an existing firm-yield-estimator (FYE) model, and the potential effect of ground water on firm yield was evaluated. To apply the FYE model to a reservoir in Massachusetts, the model requires that the drainage area to the reservoir be clearly defined and that some surface water flows into the reservoir. For surface-water-body shapes having a more realistic representation of a reservoir shoreline than a stream, a comparison of ground-water-flow rates simulated by the ground-water equations with flow rates simulated by a two-dimensional, finite-difference ground-water-flow model indicate that the agreement between the simulated flow rates is within ?10 percent when the ratio of the distance from the reservoir shoreline to the aquifer boundary to the length of shoreline in contact with the aquifer is between values of 0.5 and 3.5.
Idealized reservoir-aquifer systems were assumed to verify that the ground-water-flow equations were implemented correctly into the existing FYE model; however, the modified FYE model has not been validated through a comparison of simulated and observed data. A comparison of simulated and observed reservoir water levels would further define limitations to the applicability of the ground-water-flow equations to reservoirs in Massachusetts whose shorelines are in contact with a sand and gravel aquifer.
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USGS Numbered Series
Ground-Water Contributions to Reservoir Storage and the Effect on Estimates of Firm Yield for Reservoirs in Massachusetts