The Groundwater Project

Groundwater-Surface Water Exchange

Book cover for Groundwater-Surface Water Exchange

Publication year: 2020
Number of pages: 158
ISBN: 978-1-7770541-5-1

Author:
William W. Woessner – University of Montana, USA

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Book Description

This book describes how groundwater is linked with surface water features such as rivers, lakes and wetlands and function as a continuous hydrologic system. The exchange of water is driven by differences in water levels, hydrogeologic properties of earth materials and the underlying geologic framework.

Challenges in documenting the locations and rates of water exchange include significant differences in flow paths and water residence times in connected groundwater and surface‑water systems. Nine Boxes, that are used to expand on concepts presented in the main text, present case studies as examples of water exchange. Six exercises and solutions are also provided.

Multiple conceptual models representing exchange of groundwater with streams, lakes and wetlands are presented in cross sections and map views. The types of exchange such as effluent, influent, flow‑though, zero exchange and mixed conditions are defined and used to describe groundwater‑surface water exchange. These conditions are linked to the terms gaining, losing, flow‑through and mixed, that are commonly used when the surface water feature is the focus, and to the terms upwelling and downwelling which are used by river ecologists. 

The exchange process is discussed at multiple scales in landscapes of varying size such ranging from the watershed/basin to the channel bed scale.

Section 5 presents methods used to describe and quantify the location, magnitude and timing of groundwater-surface water exchange. These include the use of water budgets, geochemical budgets and heat budgets; stream‑gauging seepage runs; hydrograph separation; basin‑scale groundwater modeling; surface‑water stage and groundwater level monitoring; as well as the use of mini-piezometers, seepage meters, local‑ and remotely‑sensed water temperature; stream tracer tests, and geochemical methods. Each method is described and accompanied with figures. Methods include a number of general reference documents that are available on the internet, as well as additional references.

Those who understand the link between conceptual models and field measurements of groundwater-surface water exchange will be able to determine how natural and impacted streams, lakes and wetlands function, and which preservation or restoration actions can resolve issues and meet goals.

Contents

1 INTRODUCTION AND IMPORTANCE

1.1 Principles and Concepts

1.2 Effluent or Surface Water Gaining Conditions

1.3 Influent or Surface Water Losing Conditions

1.4 Flow Through Conditions

1.5 Zero Exchange or Parallel Flow Conditions

1.6 Coastline Exchange

1.7 Heterogeneity in Exchange

1.8 The Scale of Exchange

Transient Changes in the Exchange Process

2 STREAMS AND GROUNDWATER EXCHANGE

2.1 Effluent or Gaining Stream

2.2 Influent or Losing Stream

2.3 Flow-Through Stream

2.4 Zero Exchange Stream

2.5 Perennial, Intermittent and Ephemeral Streams

2.6 Exchange at The Watershed/Basin Scale

2.7 Exchange at The Valley Segment/River Corridor Scale

2.8 Exchange at The Reach/Floodplain Scale

2.9 Exchange at The Channel Scale

2.10 Hyporheic Exchange: Links To Physical and Ecological Systems

3 LAKES AND GROUNDWATER EXCHANGE

3.1 Effluent or Gaining Lake

3.2 Influent or Losing Lake

3.3 Flow-Through Lake

3.4 Mixed Exchange Lakes

3.5 Lakes in Landscapes

4 WETLANDS AND GROUNDWATER EXCHANGE

4.1 Effluent or Gaining Wetland

Springs and Wetlands

4.2 Influent or Losing Wetland

4.3 Flow-Through Wetland

4.4 Mixed Exchange Wetland

4.5 Disconnected Wetland

4.6 Conceptual Models of Wetlands

4.7 Wetlands in Landscapes

5 METHODS TO INVESTIGATE GROUNDWATER SURFACE WATER EXCHANGE

5.1 Water Budgets

5.2 Stream Hydrograph Separation Methods

5.3 Basin Groundwater Modeling

5.4 Stream Synoptic Surveys

5.5 Surface-Water Stage and Groundwater Monitoring Networks

5.6 Mini Piezometers

5.7 Seepage Meters

5.8 Water Temperature

5.9 Stream Tracer Methods

5.10 Brief Summary of Geochemical Methods

6 CONCLUDING REMARKS

7 EXERCISES

8 REFERENCES

9 BOXES

Box 1 Simulating Lake Conceptual Models, Winter’s Models

Box 2 Springs

Box 3 Mirror Lake

Box 4 Measurement Errors in Synoptic Surveys

Box 5 Seepage Meter Operation

Box 6 Application of Mini-Piezometers, Seepage Meters, and Temperature Contrasts

Box 7 Heat Transport Modeling

Box 8 Stream Tracer Breakthrough Models

Box 9 Mixing Model Used to Separate Stream Base Flow

10 EXERCISE SOLUTIONS

Solution to Exercise 1

Solution to Exercise 2

Solution to Exercise 3

Solution to Exercise 4

Solution to Exercise 5

Solution to Exercise 6

11 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Interview with Author