Research Proposal: Infiltration and Ground Water Recharge

Mike Ravella and Don Lance


The proposed project will study and monitor hydrologic conditions in the sub-surface, in order to develop a better understanding of groundwater recharge processes and in an effort to identify aquifer recharge areas in the Keene region. We will determine soil infiltration rates and monitor evaporation rates, soil moisture content, soil tension, soil temperature, and water table levels. The collected data will be entered in a Geographic Information System for analysis and production of a map of infiltration capacities and recharge areas for the Keene region.

2. Specific Aims:

Our objectives for this project are: to gain experience in a variety of scientific field measurement techniques and the analysis and interpretation of data; to produce a map of soil infiltration capacities for the Keene region; and also to develop a better understanding of ground water recharge processes and rates. We believe that recharge can be influenced by a variety of factors, including soil type, and location, as well as variations in the hydrologic fluxes (precipitation and evapotranspiration.)

3. Research Plan:

a) Project Summary

This project deals with the infiltration of water through the unsaturated zone, for the purposes of identifying aquifer recharge areas and quantifying recharge rates. We intend to monitor precipitation and evaporation fluxes, soil moisture, and other conditions at several field sites (Dingman, 1994); and to measure soil infiltration capacities (Tricker, 1978, 1981) for the Keene region (Moore et al., 1994). This information will help us understand ground water recharge processes and identify aquifer recharge areas.

b) Relevance:

This work is important because ground water is an invaluable but limited resource. The information that will be gained from our research can serve as a tool for state and federal geologists, as well as city and regional planners. This project also serves as an educational experience providing important field training.

c) Literature cited:

Moore,R.B. , Johnson, C.D., and Douglas, D. M., 1994. Geohydrology and water Quality of Stratified-Drift Aquifers in the Lower Connecticut River Basin, Southwestern New Hampshire. US Geological Survey, Bow, New Hampshire.

Dingman,S.L. 1994. Physical Hydrology. Macmillan Publishing Co., New York, NY.

Tricker, A.S., 1978. The Infiltration Cylinder: Some Comments On It's Use. Journal of Hydrology, 36:383-391.

Tricker, A.S., 1981. Spatial And Temporal Patterns Of Infiltration. Journal Of Hydrology, 49:261-277.

d) Plan of Work

We will:

e) Time Line:

Measurement of precipitation, snow pack and snow moisture content, entry of base data into GIS, planning of further field studies.
March-April (as soon as ground is no longer frozen)
Installation and monitoring of soil moisture and other instrumentation, infiltration studies, and soil sample collection. On-going entry of data into GIS.
Data analysis, preparation of final map and report.

4. Budget:

Item Amount
Evaporation Pan 100.00
1 foot Jet-Fill Tensiometer 65.50
3 foot Jet-Fill Tensiometer 70.15
12" REOTEMP thermometer probe 53.40
36" REOTEMP thermometer probe 77.00
3 1/4 Mud Auger Bucket 117.00
Rubber Coated Cross Handle 26.00
3 Threaded 4 foot Extension Rods (40 ea) 120.00
Core Sampler with Slide Hammer 232.00
Core Sampler Liner 4.35
Core Sampler End Caps 21.65
Soil Sample Bags 5.00
"Rite in Rain" Field Notebooks, 2 Spiral bound 10.00
"Rite in Rain" Space Pens, 2 14.00
Travel within field area, 100 miles @ $0.30/mile 30.00
Total 946.05


The items listed above are necessary to conduct this research project. The Evaporation pan, tensiometers, thermometers and soil sampling equipment are crucial for obtaining the required data about the infiltration of water through the unsaturated zone. Infiltration Cylinders and some other equipment are already available from the Geology Department. There is also a limited amount of travel required for commuting to field monitoring sites.