Delineating a contributing area to a well completed in a fractured bedrock aquifer in Pennsylvania is difficult because the hydrogeologic characteristics of fractured rocks are extremely complex. Because of this complexity, a single method or technique to delineate a contributing area will not be applicable for all wells completed in fractured-bedrock aquifers. Therefore, a strategy for refining the understanding of boundary conditions and major heterogeneities that control ground-water flow and sources of water to a supply well is suggested.
The strategy is based on developing and refining a conceptual model for the sources of water to the well. Specifically, the strategy begins with an initial conceptual model of the ground-water-flow system, then requires the collection of hydrogeologic information to refine the conceptual model in a stepwise manner from one or more of sic categories: (1) hydrogeologic mapping, (2) water-level and streamflow measurements, (3) geochemistry, (4) geophysics and borehole flowmetering, (5) aquifer testing, and (6) tracer testing.
During the refinement process, the applicability of treating the fratured-rock aquifer as a hydrologic continuum is evaluated, and the contributing area is delineated. Choice of the method used to delineate the contributing area is less important than insuring that the method is consistent with the refined conceptual model. By use of such a strategy, the improved understanding of the ground-water-flow system will lead to a technically defensible delineation of the contributing area.