Geospatial Dataset of Wells and Attributes in the New England Groundwater Level Network, 2017

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The drought of 2016 affected hydrologic conditions throughout New England. Responses of USGS groundwater observation wells to this event, however, were not uniform and were sometimes markedly different from site to site. Although USGS scientists were able to provide explanations for most of these situations, the event highlighted the need for additional well information to develop quantitative and reproducible analyses and interpretations of groundwater-level data.  To address this need, a dataset of attributes for the wells in the New England groundwater-level network was developed.

Wells in the New England groundwater level network dataset, 2017

A map showing locations of wells in the New England groundwater level network dataset, 2017

A dataset of well information and geospatial data was developed for 426 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) observation wells in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. An extensive list of attributes is included about each well, its location, and water-level history to provide the public and water-resources community with comprehensive information on the USGS well network in New England and data available from these sites. These data may be useful for evaluating groundwater conditions and variability across the region.
 
The well list and site attributes, which were extracted from USGS National Water Information System (NWIS), represent all of the active wells in the New England network up to the end of 2017, and an additional 51 wells that were inactive (discontinued or replaced) at that time. Inactive wells were included in the database because they (1) were replaced by a nearby well, (2) may be restarted at some point, or (3) are being monitored by another agency (most discontinued New Hampshire wells are still being monitored and the data are available in the National Groundwater Monitoring Network (https://cida.usgs.gov/ngwmn/index.jsp). The wells in this database have been sites of water-level data collection (periodic levels and/or continuous levels) for an average of 31 years. Water-level records go back to 1913. The groundwater-level statistics included in the dataset represent hydrologic conditions for the period of record for inactive wells, or through the end of water year 2017 (September 30, 2017) for active wells.
 
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data layers were compiled from various sources and dates ranging from 2003 to 2018. These GIS data were used to calculate attributes related to topographic setting, climate, land cover, soil, and geology giving hydrologic and environmental context to each well. In total, the data include 90 attributes for each well. In addition to site number and station name, attributes were developed for site information (15 attributes); groundwater-level statistics through water year 2017 (16 attributes); well-construction information (9 attributes); topographic setting (11 attributes); climate (2 attributes); land use and cover (17 attributes); soils (4 attributes); and geology (14 attributes). Basic well and site information includes well location, period of record, well-construction details, continuous versus intermittent data collection, and ground altitudes. Attributes that may influence groundwater levels include: well depth, location of open or screened interval, aquifer type, surficial and bedrock geology, topographic position, flow distance to surface water, land use and cover near the well, soil texture and drainage, precipitation, and air temperature.

The compiled information in the dataset may be used to evaluate redundancies or gaps in the present well network, with respect to the full range of attributes described above. The dataset may also be used for other regional hydrologic studies; for example, studies to estimate drought condition probabilities or evaluate effects of possible future climate conditions on groundwater levels. The dataset is published as a USGS data release (Hayes, L., Chalmers, A.T., Mullaney, J.R., and Barbaro, J.R., 2019, Geospatial Dataset of Wells and Attributes in the New England Groundwater Level Network, 2017: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/P9J2DHU5) and can be accessed through the Data and Tools tab associated with this project overview web site.