Ground-water-flow patterns and areas contributing recharge to supply wells change in response to new or altered pumping stresses. An understanding of these potential changes is essential for the effective evaluation of possible future water-supply alternatives, especially if the supply wells may be vulnerable to contamination from the land surface. Demand for water from a valley-fill and carbonate-rock aquifer system in the study area near Kenvil in Morris County, New Jersey, is expected to increase as the population of communities grows in and near the area. As withdrawals increase and new supplies are developed over time, ground-water-flow patterns and areas contributing recharge to supply wells in the area are expected to change.
Flow patterns and areas contributing recharge to selected supply wells in the aquifer system in the study area, under a variety of hypothetical withdrawal conditions, were evaluated by use of numerical modeling techniques. Under the four alternative scenarios evaluated, withdrawals from selected wells are increased by a total of 1.3 to 2.4 million gallons per day, or 32 to 56 percent over the recent (1991-95) total withdrawals from the study area. The scenarios were incorporated in simulations of ground-water flow that were conducted by use of a previously developed three-dimensional numerical model.
Flow-path comparisons indicate that ground-water-flow patterns change in response to changes in pumping rates and (or) new pumping stresses. Under the scenarios represented in the simulations, water levels (hydraulic heads) in the study area decline from 0 to as much as 63 ft. Under most of the scenarios evaluated, downward leakage of ground water increases and upward discharge to streams decreases. In some scenarios, supply wells intercept additional local flow, whereas in other scenarios additional regional flow is intercepted. Areas contributing recharge to wells also change or develop. Changes in flow patterns and in the location, size, and shape of areas contributing recharge to supply wells depend on the location and magnitude of the change in withdrawal stress and on other hydrogeologic factors, such as the configuration of aquifer boundaries and differences in aquifer properties.
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USGS Numbered Series
Simulated Effects of Alternative Pumping Strategies on Ground-Water-Flow Patterns and Areas Contributing Recharge to Selected Wells near Kenvil, Morris County, New Jersey