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Water-Supply Paper 2460

Geohydrology and Evaluation of Stream-Aquifer Relations in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, Southeastern Alabama, Northwestern Florida, and Southwestern Georgia

LYNN J. TORAK, GARY S. DAVIS, GEORGE A. STRAIN, and JENNIFER G. HERNDON

ABSTRACT

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The lower Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin is underlain by Coastal Plain sediments of pre-Cretaceous to Quaternary age consisting of alternating units of sand, clay, sandstone, dolomite, and limestone that gradually thicken and dip gently to the southeast. The stream-aquifer system consists of carbonate (limestone and dolomite) and elastic sediments, which define the Upper Floridan aquifer and Intermediate system, in hydraulic connection with the principal rivers of the basin and other surface-water features, natural and man made.

Separate digital models of the Upper Floridan aquifer and Intermediate system were con structed by using the U.S. Geological Survey's MODular Finite-Element model of two dimensional ground-water flow, based on conceptualizations of the stream-aquifer system, and calibrated to drought conditions of October 1986. Sensitivity analyses performed on the models indicated that aquifer hydraulic conductivity, lateral and vertical boundary flows, and pumpage have a strong influence on ground-water levels. Simulated pumpage increases in the Upper Floridan aquifer, primarily in the Dougherty Plain physiographic district of Georgia, caused significant reductions in aquifer discharge to streams that eventually flow to Lake Seminole and the Apalachicola River and Bay. Simulated pumpage increases greater than 3 times the October 1986 rates caused drying of some stream reaches and parts of the Upper Floridan aquifer in Georgia.

Water budgets prepared from simulation results indicate that ground-water discharge to streams and recharge by horizontal and vertical flow are the principal mechanisms for moving water through the flow system. The potential for changes in ground-water quality is high in areas where chemical constituents can be mobilized by these mechanisms. Less than 2 percent of ground-water discharge to streams comes from the Intermediate system; thus, it plays a minor role in the hydrodynamics of the streamaquifer system.

First posted February 18, 2010

This publication is in PDF format.

For additional information contact:
Director, Georgia Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
3039 Amwiler Rd.
Suite 130
30360-2824
http://ga.water.usgs.gov/


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