Home > Explore! > Ground Water and Wells > Water Resources Planning > April 3, 2012 Notes
Water Resources Planning Committee
October 19, 2010
9:00 - 12:00 PM
U.S. Geological Survey
Maine Water Science Center
196 Whitten Road
- Branch Brook Project - Martha Nielsen (USGS) presented an overview of this project. This project will benefit from the Freeport project, now completed, with final report available on-line.
- This is a fairly large watershed, with multiple water users.
- Surface water measurements - stream flow data are key to developing a successful model of groundwater resources. Dan Locke (Maine Geological Survey) has measured flow at XX sites over the past two summers. He will take additional measurements on the Merriland River this spring, in the vicinity of the KKW WD's groundwater pump. Two measurement sites bracket the well and are important to understanding the impact of groundwater pumping on Merriland River flows.
- Synoptic groundwater level measurements. MGS and USGS will organize an effort to measure groundwater levels during a two-week period this summer. Ideally, the effort will include about 75 wells evenly distributed around the watershed. Some of these wells have been identified and work continues to identify others. This snapshot of groundwater levels will be essential to calibration of the groundwater model. This corrects one of the deficiencies in the Freeport project, wherein some groundwater level measurements used in the groundwater model were decades old.
- Preliminary stream flow results: Martha discussed some preliminary results from the past two seasons of streamflow measurements, showing that some sections of the watershed contribute significantly more groundwater to surface water flows than others. Analysis is on-going.
- Groundwater level monitoring network. Marvinney outlined progress on the effort to augment the USGS's near-realtime network of 22 wells with other datasets. MGS staff members have been reviewing datasets maintained by the Maine DEP in their Environmental and Geographic Analysis Database (EGAD). This database contains information from hundreds of wells around the state for which levels are measured periodically for permit compliance purposes.
- MGS staff worked with DEP staff to identify wells that should act as background wells in terms of groundwater levels.
- About 70 wells have long-term records of around ten years that will be useful in looking at long-term trends in water levels. Water levels were measured at varying intervals, from a few per year to monthly. The infrequency makes them unsuitable for seasonal analysis, but acceptable for multi-year analysis.
- Marvinney reviewed groundwater level charts from 4 example wells across southern Maine. They all show variations over a decade of less than 20 feet and generally show stable or increasing groundwater trends.
- MGS staff will continue to review remaining candidate wells and make summary diagrams and charts available over the internet.
- Current groundwater levels: We discussed the very minor recharge this year from snowmelt compared to other years. While most wells in the USGS network show near normal levels, they are mostly trended downward. This situation bears watching.
- Future of Water Resources Planning Committee: The WRPC is organized under the Land and Water Resources Council, which is a function of the current State Planning Office. While the WRPC has been very active over the past several years, the L&WRC has not been. As part of the LePage Administration's proposal to eliminate the State Planning Office, the L&WRC will be abolished, and with it the official status of the WRPC.
- Marvinney discussed the value of the WRPC as a forum for discussing water issues and proposed that it be continued as an informal committee. Members agreed with the value of the committee and strongly endorsed.
- Future meetings:
- Meet this summer to discuss groundwater levels, particularly if it is dry.
- Consider a session on artificial groundwater recharge which is used elsewhere to augment reserves.
Example Groundwater-level Graphs>
Last updated on April 30, 2012