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1 Investigating Groundwater Systems on Regiollal and National Scales COMMITTEE ON USGS WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES, ENVIRONMENT, AND RESOURCES NATIONAl RESEARCH COUNCIL NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C.
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the Na- tional Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The mem- bers of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their spe- cial competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this project was provided by the U.S. Geological Survey under Contract No. 9SHQAG2028. International Standard Book Number 0-309-07182-8 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 00-110372 Investigating Groundwater Systems on Regional and National Scales is available Tom the National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 2041S, (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); internet ~http://www.nap.edu>. Cover photo, Greer Spring in the Missouri Ozarks, courtesy of Randy Ombortf, U.S. Geological Survey. Copynght 2000 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council Advisers to the Nation oil Scie`'ce, Engineering, acid Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal gov- ernment on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of out- standing engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recogIiizes the superior achievement of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of bow the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engi- neering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.
COMMITTEE ON U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH KENNETH R. BRADBURY, Chair, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, Madison VICTOR R. BAKER, University of Arizona, Tucson ANA P. BARROS, Harvard University, Cambndge, Massachusetts MICHAEL E. CAMPANA, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque BENEDYKT DZEGELEWSKI, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale KIMBERLY A. GRAY, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (through December 1999) C. THOMAS HAAN, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater (through December 1999) DAVID R. MAIDMENT, The University of Texas, Austin DAVID H. MOREAU, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (through December 1999) KAREN L. PRESTEGAARD, University of Maryland, College Park STUART S. SCHWARTZ, Consultant, San Diego, California DONALD I. SIEGEL, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York VERNON L. SNOEYINK, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign MARY W. STOERTZ, Ohio University, Athens KAY D. THOMPSON, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri National Research Council Staff WILLIAM S. LOGAN, Project Director ANITA A. HALL, Project Assistant RHONDA J. BITTERLI, Editor v
WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD HENRY J. VAUX, Jr., Chair, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California, Oakland RICHARD G. LUTHY, Vice Chair, Stanford University, Stanford, California RICHELLE M. ALLEN-KING, Washington State University, Pullman GREGORY B. BAECHER, University of Maryland, College Park JOHN BRISCOE, The World Bank, Washington, D.C. EFI FOUFOULA-GEORGIOU, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis STEVEN P. GLOSS, University of Wyoming, Laramie WILLIAM A. JURY, University of California, Riverside GARY S. LOGSDON, Black & Veatch, Cincinnati, Ohio DIANE M. MCKNIGHT, University of Colorado, Boulder JOHN W. MORRIS, J.W. Morris Ltd., Arlington, Virginia PHILIP A. PALMER (Retired), E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Wilmington, Delaware REBECCA T. PARKIN, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. RUTHERFORD H. PLATT, University of Massachusetts, Amherst JOAN B. ROSE, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg JERALD L. SCHNOOK, University of Iowa, Iowa City R. RHODES TRUSSELL, Montgomery Watson, Pasadena, California Staff STEPHEN D. PARKER, Director LAURA J. EHLERS, Senior Staff Officer CHRIS ELFRING, Senior Staff Officer JEFFREY W. JACOBS, Senior Staff Officer MARK C. GIBSON, Staff Officer WILLIAM S. LOGAN, Staff Officer M. JEANNE AQUILINO, Administrative Associate PATRICIA A. JONES, Study/Research Associate ANITA A. HALL, Administrative Assistant ELLEN A. DE GUZMAN, Senior Project Assistant ANIKE L. JOHNSON, Project Assistant Vl
COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES, ENVIRONMENT AND RESOURCES GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Chair, University of Virginia, Charlottesville RICHARD A. CONWAY, Union Carbide Corporation (Retired), S. Charleston, West Virginia LYNN GOLDMAN, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland THOMAS E. GRAEDEL, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut THOMAS J. GRAFF, Environmental Defense Fund, Oakland, California EUGENIA KALNAY, University of Maryland, College Park DEBRA KNOPMAN, Progressive Policy Institute, Washington, D.C. BRAD MOONEY, J. Brad Mooney Associates, Ltd., Arlington, Virginia HUGH C. MORRIS, El Dorado Gold Corporation, Vancouver British Columbia H. RONALD PULLIAM, University of Georgia, Athens MILTON RUSSELL, University of Tennessee (Emeritus), Knoxvill ROBERT I. SERAFIN, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado ANDREW R. SOLOW, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts E-AN ZEN, University of Maryland, College Park Staff ROBERT M. HAMPTON, Executive Director GREGORY H. SYMMES, Associate Executive Director lEANETTE SPOON, Administrative and Financial Officer SANDI FITZPATRICK, Administrative Associate . . V11 e
Preface This report is a product of the Committee on USGS Water Re- sources Research, which provides consensus advice on scientific, re- search, and programmatic issues to the Water Resources Division (WRD) of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The committee is one of the groups that work under the auspices of the Water Science and Tech- nology Board of the National Research Council CNRC). The committee considers a variety of topics that are important scientifically and pro- grammatically to the USGS and the nation, and it issues reports when appropriate. This report concerns the work of the WRD in science and technol- ogy relevant to assessments of groundwater resources on regional and national scales. The USGS has been conducting scientific activity rele- vant to groundwater resources for over 100 years and, as summarized in Appendix A, today groundwater-related work occurs throughout the WRD. Groundwater is a basic resource for humans and natural ecosystems and is one of the nation's most important natural resources. Groundwa- ter Is pumped from wells to supply drinking water to about 130 million U.S. residents and is used in all 50 states. About 40 percent of the na- tion's public water supply and much of the water used for irrigation is provided by groundwater. Despite the importance of groundwater as one of our most precious natural resources, an organized, effective program to provide an ongoing assessment of the nation's groundwater resources does not exist. With IX
x Preface encouragement from the U.S. Congress, the USGS is planning for a new program of regional and national scale assessment of U.S. groundwater resources, thus helping bring new order to its various groundwater re- sources-related activities. The Survey's senior scientists requested ad- vice in regard to the desigr~ of such a program. In response, the com- mittee undertook this study in support of developing an improved pro- gram relevant to regional and national assessment of groundwater re- sources. Specifically, the Statement of Task to the committee was to "provide guidance to the USGS on development of an improved program relevant to regional and national assessment of ground-water resources." The Statement of Task lists six major topics to be addressed: 1. what constitutes the "regional" and "national" assessment of groundwater resources, 2. how regional studies are chosen (e.g., on the basis of geography, issues, or otherwise), what are emerging issues of regional and national concern, 4. what data and information the USGS should collect and supply and how best to display it, what methods development (e.g., models, geophysical methods, etc.) and research the USGS should pursue for improved future activity, and 6. what are program coordination needs so as to engage outside ex- pertise in priority setting for groundwater studies and to assure commu- nication of results so as to be most useful. The committee laid out plans for the study in mid-1998 and subse- quently met four times before completing this report. At meetings, members were briefed by USGS personnel on a variety of programs and activities. The committee learned about WRD's relevant effort in sev- eral hydrologic regions, such as Cape Cod, the southwestern and south- ern United States, and the Albuquerque and High Plains aquifers. Committee members drafted individual contributions and deliberated as a group to achieve consensus on the content of this report. As the study proceeded and the committee became more cognizant of USGS activities, productive discussions occurred among committee members and personnel from the USGS and other organizations. This interaction was critical to the success of the project. The committee
Preface Xl heard from more than 20 USGS staff members and representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and state and local resource management agencies. The list of individuals providing information to the committee is too long to include in this preface, but we are indebted for the many perspectives and for the information provided. We do wish to single out four individuals from the USGS with whom we interacted throughout the project and thank them for the assistance, information, and cooperation they provided: William M. Alley, chief of the Office of Groundwater; Norman G. Grannemann, coordinator, Groundwater Resource Program; Robert M. Hirsch, chief hydrologist; and Gail E. Mallard, senior hydrologist, who serves as the USGS's continuing liaison with our committee. The committee hopes that this report will help promote the devel- opment of, and appreciation for, improved hydrologic data, information, and knowledge as the USGS supports the nation's effort to manage groundwater resources wisely. The USGS should continue to provide strong, effective, and sustained leadership in this area. This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their di- verse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with proce- clures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The content of the review comments and draft manuscripts re- mains confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report, and for their many instructive comments: John D. Brede- hoeft, The Hydrodynamics Group; Denise Fort, University of New Mexico; Hugh C. Morris, E1 Dorado Gold Corporation, C. Kent Keller, Washington State University; John M. Sharp, Jr., University of Texas at Austin; Marios A. Sophocleous, Kansas Geological Survey; and H. Maurice Valett, Virginia Tech. Although the individuals listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests with the authoring committee and the NRC. Kenneth R. Bradbury Chairman, Committee on USGS Water Resources Research
Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 GROUNDWATER AND SOCIETY A Critical Resource, 9 An Overdeveloped Resource, 17 The Necessity for Conjunctive Management, 20 Conclusions, 24 2 APPROACHES TO SYNTHESIS OF GROUND- WATER ISSUES AT THE REGIONAL SCALE USGS Groundwater Programs-Past and Present, 26 New Opportunities and Mandates, 39 Proposed Framework for Regional-Scale Groundwater Studies, 42 Conclusions, 47 3 INSTITUTIONAL INTEGRATION AND COLLABORATION External Collaboration, 48 Internal Collaboration, 57 Conclusions, 64 . . . x`~' 1 6 25 48
XIV 4 SCIENTIFIC ISSUES Aquifer Management, 67 Natural Groundwater Recharge, 72 Groundwater Quality and Movement in Surficial Materials, 76 Groundwater-Surface Water Interactions, 78 Groundwater in Karst and Fractured Aquifers, 83 Characterization of Subsurface Heterogeneity, 88 Numerical Modeling, 91 Facilitating Use of Goundwater Information in Decision-Making, 94 Conclusions, 98 5 DELIVERY AND ACCESSIBILITY OF GROUNDWATER DATA Users of Groundwater Data, 100 Content of Groundwater Data, 101 Format of Groundwater Data, 102 Conclusions, 107 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Scientific Assessment of Critical Groundwater Issues, 109 Regional and National Overviews, 110 Access to Groundwater Information, 112 Methods Development, 114 REFERENCES APPENDIX A U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY PROGRAMS THAT SUPPORT GROUND-WATER RESOURCES STUDIES APPENDIX B BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS Preface 66 99 116 133 138