In January 2002 the U.S. Geological Survey began continuous water-level monitoring in three wells in the vicinity of the Southeast Ranges of Camp Edwards, near the Impact Area of the Massachusetts Military Reservation on Cape Cod. The purpose of this effort was to examine how water levels at sites with different unsaturated-zone thicknesses near the top of the water-table mound beneath western Cape Cod are affected by temporally variable recharge from precipitation, which is the sole source of water to the sand and gravel aquifer. The depths to water at the well sites are about 18, 30, and 101 feet below land surface.
This report presents the first 3 years of water-level records and an estimate of aquifer recharge calculated from climatological measurements by the Jensen and Haise method and the Thornthwaite method. The water levels in the three wells varied temporally by about 4.5 feet during the study period. A comparison of the water levels with those measured in a nearby monitoring well with about 42 years of monthly measurements indicates that the 3-year monitoring period included the lowest water levels on western Cape Cod since the drought of the 1960's. The response of water levels to recharge was related to the depth to water. Water levels in the two wells with shallow depths to water responded quickly (within hours or days) to recharge, whereas the water-level response in the well with the greatest depth to water often lagged the recharge event by a month or more. The variations in the water levels among the wells changed as the location of the top of the water-table mound moved with the changing water-table altitude.