Home > Explore! > Ground Water and Wells > Water Resources Planning > May 2011 Notes
Water Resources Planning Committee
May 25, 2011
9:00 - Noon
U.S. Geological Survey
Maine Water Science Center
196 Whitten Road
- Review of final report on the Freeport study. Martha Nielsen (USGS) provided an overview of the project and conclusions. (See previous meeting notes for more background on this project.) The stratigraphy of the watershed is complicated, with a thick sequence of marine clay above the sand and gravel aquifer. The modeled water budget requires inflow to the aquifer around the edges of the clay.
The Freeport Water District's pumping wells account for 7-8% of the water budget.
With the model constructed and calibrated, several scenarios were run involving no pumping, additional pumping, and changes in recharge.
The final report will be available from the USGS before the end of the calendar year.
Successes for this project:
Areas for improvement:
- Stream flow measurements were essential.
- Rigorous parameter estimation techniques were crucial to calibrating the groundwater model.
- Cooperation of consultants provided important data.
- A detailed water use evaluation for the entire watershed was useful.
- Lack of contemporaneous groundwater level measurements. The measurements used in the model were taken over many years; some measurements were decades old. Future projects should consider taking new groundwater level measurements across the project area in a short time frame.
- Geographic gaps in groundwater level measurements. Future projects should ensure data collection throughout the project area.
- Update on activities and plans for the Branch Brook watershed (Marvinney - Maine Geological Survey).
Summary of 2010 work:
2011 Work plans:
- Collected 12 rounds of low streamflow measurements at each of 10 sites.
- Developed an agreement with USGS for groundwater modeling.
- Collect several rounds of high flow measurements.
- Review available aquifer information.
- Acquire additional aquifer information in key areas.
- Improve water use information.
- Collect contemporaneous groundwater level measurements over the study area.
- Discussion of the USGS groundwater level monitoring network (Nielsen, USGS).
Martha reviewed the history and current status of the groundwater level monitoring network maintained by the USGS. See related summary document and map showing the current distribution of wells. This network will be particularly useful to climate-change analysis.
The WRPC further discussed means to augment the USGS network. For example, the Maine DEP collects groundwater level information from a number of permittees on a regular basis. Many have long-term records and most are in an electronic database maintained by DEP. While these wells may not meet all the requirements to be part of the USGS network, these measurements may be particularly useful in areas that lack USGS wells. The Maine Geological Survey will work with the Maine DEP to review information in their database and identify wells in key areas with long-term records that may be used to augment the USGS network. We expect to complete this task by the end of the calendar year.
- Installation - $20,000 (somewhat less if an existing well).
- Operation and maintenance - $4,800 annually.
- USGS normally pays half the O&M, but not the installation.
- Update on seasonal watersheds-at-risk analysis (Marvinney). This analysis is underway using the 6 seasons established in the Chapter 587 rules. This analysis uses updated information on water use and population. An initial review suggests that even in the seasonal analysis, population demands are the greatest on water resources. The Maine Geological Survey will continue to refine this analysis with the intention to present a final version at a fall meeting of the WRPC.
- Summary of current legislation (Marvinney). The primary change this session related to WRPC activities was a change to the Water Use Reporting Program. As part of LD 1015, An Act to Reduce Unnecessary Reporting Requirements for the Department of Environmental Protection, irrigators petitioned to eliminate their reporting requirement, citing the burdensome requirement and the degree of estimating that typically is done to fulfill this requirement. The Environment and Natural Resources Committee agreed, but considering the need to periodically review water supply and demand by watershed, directed the Department of Agriculture to work with the Maine Geological Survey on "rigorous calculations of water withdrawals by agricultural producers."
- T. Brennan, Poland Spring
- T. Brown, Maine Dept. Environmental Protection
- J. Harker, Maine Dept. Agriculture
- T. Koffman, Maine Audubon
- R. Marvinney, Maine Geological Survey
- M. Nielsen, USGS
- R. Lent, USGS
- G. Sweetser, Ski Maine Association
- S. Timpano, Maine Inland Fisheries & Wildlife
- A. Tolman, Maine Drinking Water Program
- T. Weddle, Maine Geological Survey
- A. Wong, Maine Rural Water Association
- R. Knowlton, Aqua Maine
- J. Wilfong, H2O for Maine
- M. Spencer-Famous, LURC
- J. McNelly, Maine Water Utilities Association
- J. Hopeck, Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Last updated on August 11, 2011