Kingsbury Pond is a glacial kettle pond in the town of Norfolk, Massachusetts, in the Mill River Basin, which is part of the Upper Charles River Basin in eastern Massachusetts. The pond is hydraulically connected to the surrounding groundwater-flow system, and water levels in the pond fluctuate in response to recharge to the aquifer from precipitation and wastewater return flows through septic systems, to withdrawals from the aquifer at nearby wells, and to precipitation directly on the pond surface. Concerns about the effects of withdrawals on water levels in the pond prompted an investigation to better understand the hydrology of Kingsbury Pond and its response to groundwater withdrawals and to determine if withdrawals from wells in Franklin, Mass., can be modified to simultaneously reduce the effect on water levels in the pond and yet meet the water-supply demands of the Town of Franklin.
An existing, transient groundwater-flow model of the Upper Charles River Basin was modified for this study in the area near Kingsbury Pond to improve representation of the hydrologic system near the pond. The mean annual water-level altitude simulated for the pond for nonpumping conditions using the modified model is 136 feet (ft), which falls within the range of likely annual pond-altitude fluctuations of 135 to 140 ft estimated for average hydrologic conditions before the beginning of withdrawals at two nearby wells operated by the Town of Franklin (wells FR–04 and FR–05). The mean annual water-level altitude at the pond decreased by 3.8 ft to 132.2 ft for simulated mean monthly withdrawal rates at all wells within the Upper Charles River Basin from 2010 to 2019 (referred to as the baseline withdrawal condition).
A groundwater management model that links the groundwater-flow model with a mathematical optimization method was developed to evaluate the effects of three alternative groundwater-withdrawal scenarios for the Franklin public-water system on water levels in Kingsbury Pond. In the first scenario, monthly withdrawal rates at wells FR–04 and FR–05 were increased from the baseline withdrawal rates to their maximum authorized rates for all months of the year; all other Franklin wells were specified at their baseline withdrawal rates. This scenario resulted in a mean annual water-level altitude at the pond of 129.3 ft, or a mean annual decline of 6.7 ft compared with nonpumping conditions and a decline of 2.9 ft compared with baseline conditions.
The results of the second scenario showed that water levels in the pond can be increased relative to 2010–19 conditions while meeting Franklin’s 2010–19 monthly water-supply demands if withdrawals at wells FR–04 and FR–05 were shifted to other Franklin wells. In this scenario, monthly withdrawal rates at wells FR–04 and FR–05 were decreased from their baseline rates to one-third their maximum practical rates for all months of the year; increased withdrawal rates at other Franklin wells were determined by the management model. The decrease in withdrawal rates at wells FR–04 and FR–05 resulted in a mean water-level altitude at the pond of 134.1 ft, which was equivalent to a 51 percent increase (improvement) in the mean annual water level of the pond relative to the baseline condition.
A third scenario was done to determine if Franklin’s existing water-supply system has the capacity to meet the mean annual maximum permitted withdrawal rate of the system of 3.45 million gallons per day while maintaining monthly withdrawal rates at wells FR–04 and FR–05 at their 2010–19 rates and water levels in Kingsbury Pond at baseline conditions. The analysis indicated that the capacity of the system cannot meet the increased demand during some months of the year with withdrawal rates at the two wells fixed at their monthly 2010–19 rates; however, the existing system is capable of meeting about 90 percent of the maximum permitted rate (3.10 million gallons per day) by increasing withdrawal rates at other Franklin wells above their 2010–19 rates.
|Title||Evaluation of alternative groundwater-withdrawal scenarios on water levels in Kingsbury Pond, upper Charles River Basin, eastern Massachusetts|
|Authors||Paul M. Barlow, Paul J. Friesz, Jeffrey R. Barbaro|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Scientific Investigations Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||New England Water Science Center|