A numerical model was used to simulate pond-aquifer interactions under natural and stressed conditions near Snake Pond, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Simulation results show that pond-bottom hydraulic conductivity, which represents the degree of hydraulic connection between the pond and the aquifer, is an important control on these interactions. As this parameter was incrementally increased from 10 to 350 feet per day, the rate of ground-water inflow into the pond under natural conditions increased by about 250 percent, the associated residence times of water in the pond decreased by about 50 percent, and ground-water inflow to the pond shifted closer to the pond shore. Most ground-water inflow (90 to 98 percent) was in the upper model layer, which corresponded to shallow, near-shore areas of the pond, over the entire range of pond-bottom hydraulic conductivity. Ground-water flow paths into the pond became more vertical, the contributing area to the pond became larger, and the pond captured water from greater depths in the aquifer as the hydraulic conductivity of the pond bottom was increased. The pond level, however, remained nearly constant, and regional ground-water levels and gradients differed little over the range of pond-bottom hydraulic conductivity, indicating that calibrated models with similar head solutions can have different pond-aquifer interaction characteristics.
Hydrologic stresses caused by a simulated plume-containment system that specifies the extraction and injection of large volumes of ground water near the pond increased the pond level by about 0.4 foot and ground-water inflow rates into the pond by about 25 percent. Several factors related to the operation of the simulated containment system are affected by the hydraulic conductivity of the pond bottom. With increasing pond-bottom hydraulic conductivity, the amount of injected water that flows into Snake Pond increased and the amount of water recirculated between extraction and injection wells decreased. Comparison of simulations in which pond-bottom hydraulic conductivity was varied throughout the pond and simulations in which hydraulic conductivity was varied only in areas corresponding to shallow, near-shore areas of the pond indicate that the simulated hydraulic conductivity of the pond bottom in deeper parts of the pond had little effect on pond-aquifer interactions under both natural and stressed conditions.