Southeastern Section–55th Annual Meeting (23–24 March 2006)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:45 AM


KATH, Randal L. and CRAWFORD, Thomas J., Center for Water Resources, Univ of West Georgia, Department of Geosciences, 1600 Maple Street, Carrollton, GA 30118,

Kath and others (2004) suggested that a paradigm shift is needed in the evaluation of igneous and metamorphic rock aquifer systems for water-supply purposes. This change in mind-set is needed because the performance of these aquifer systems is typically described with pumping tests designed and evaluated using one of the variety of methods derived from the Theis Equation. These methods do not characterize the anisotropy of heterogeneous discontinuities in igneous and metamorphic rock aquifers. As a result, the pumping tests themselves are designed to provide the input data required for the analytical method to be employed. Except in rare instances, however, the drawdown/recovery characteristics in wells completed in these aquifers cannot be accurately estimated using these methods; consequently, their use typically has little practical value. Indeed, these systems are better described as aquifer/well systems because wells constructed adjacent to each other will commonly have very different performance characteristics. This paper presents an update to the original 2004 paper.

Water supply system design requires knowledge of the maximum sustainable yield and maximum drawdown for an aquifer/well system. Because of limited time and limited funds, many groundwater users need to evaluate these parameters within a short pumping period, without installation of observation wells and monitoring systems. Because of this, we propose a form of severely modified step-drawdown pumping tests or constant-head drawdown tests as the most cost-effective methods to determine the aquifer/well parameters.

The modified step-drawdown stabilizes the pumping water level at a predetermined level early in the test, and holds that pumping level for 72 hours. A constant-head test is performed by initiating and sustaining a pumping rate well above the anticipated capacity of the well until such time as a designed pumping water level is achieved. Once this pumping water level is achieved, changes in the pumping rates are used, as necessary, to maintain the predetermined pumping water level. In either method, after the flow rate has stabilized and been maintained for the term of the pumping test, the pump is turned off and the recovery is monitored. The recovery curve can then be used to estimate the maximum sustainable yield of the aquifer/well system being tested.