Capture versus capture zones: Clarifying terminology related to sources of water to wells

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The term capture, related to the source of water derived from wells, has been used in two distinct yet related contexts by the hydrologic community. The first is a water‐budget context, in which capture refers to decreases in the rates of groundwater outflow and (or) increases in the rates of recharge along head‐dependent boundaries of an aquifer in response to pumping. The second is a transport context, in which capture zone refers to the specific flowpaths that define the three‐dimensional, volumetric portion of a groundwater flow field that discharges to a well. A closely related issue that has become associated with the source of water to wells is streamflow depletion, which refers to the reduction in streamflow caused by pumping, and is a type of capture. Rates of capture and streamflow depletion are calculated by use of water‐budget analyses, most often with groundwater‐flow models. Transport models, particularly particle‐tracking methods, are used to determine capture zones to wells. In general, however, transport methods are not useful for quantifying actual or potential streamflow depletion or other types of capture along aquifer boundaries. To clarify the sometimes subtle differences among these terms, we describe the processes and relations among capture, capture zones, and streamflow depletion, and provide proposed terminology to distinguish among them.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Capture versus capture zones: Clarifying terminology related to sources of water to wells
Series title Groundwater
DOI 10.1111/gwat.12661
Volume 56
Issue 5
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher National Ground Water Association
Contributing office(s) Office of Ground Water
Description 11 p.
First page 694
Last page 704
Country United States, Mexico
State Arizona
Other Geospatial San Pedro River Basin
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