A study of the groundwater and stream-aquifer interaction in the Pootatuck River Basin, Newtown, Connecticut, was conducted to analyze the effect of production wells on the groundwater levels and streamflow in the Pootatuck River as part of a cooperative program between the U.S. Geological Survey and Newtown, Connecticut. This study will help address concerns about the increasing competition for water for human uses and protection of aquatic habitat. The groundwater-flow model developed in the study was designed for use as a tool to assist planners in assessing the effects of potential future development, which will change the amount and distribution of recharge available to the groundwater system.
Several different techniques were used to investigate the interconnection between the stream and the aquifer. Temperature, groundwater levels, stream stage, and stable-isotope data collected during aquifer tests at the principal production wells in the Pootatuck River Basin, as well as groundwater-flow simulations of the system, indicate that more than half of the water pumped from the wells comes from the Pootatuck River. This finding potentially has a large effect on approaches for protecting the water quality of the pumped water. Increases in the amount of impervious surface from future development will reduce and redistribute recharge to the groundwater system. The simulation of future development scenarios showed a decrease in the simulated base flow in the main stem of the Pootatuck River and in all of the 26 simulated subbasins, with some of the subbasins showing a decrease of more than 20 percent when new development had 85 percent impervious area.
The groundwater-flow model and particle tracking were used to determine areas that contribute recharge to the five production wells available for use in the Pootatuck River Basin. These areas included narrow portions of the aquifer that extended beyond the immediate upgradient areas, probably because of deeper groundwater-flow paths.