Water Use, Ground-Water Recharge and Availability, and Quality of Water in the Greenwich Area, Fairfield County, Connecticut and Westchester County, New York, 2000-2002

by John R. Mullaney
U.S. Geological Survey
Water-Resources Investigations Report 03-4300
The report is available in PDF format.


Ground-water budgets were developed for 32 small basin-based zones in the Greenwich area of southwestern Connecticut, where crystalline-bedrock aquifers supply private wells, to determine the status of residential ground-water consumption relative to rates of ground-water recharge and discharge. Estimated residential ground-water withdrawals for small basins (averaging 1.7 square miles (mi2) ranged from 0 to 0.16 million gallons per day per square mile (Mgal/d/mi2). To develop these budgets, residential ground-water withdrawals were estimated using multiple-linear regression models that relate water use from public water supply to data on residential property characteristics. Average daily water use of households with public water supply ranged from 219 to 1,082 gallons per day (gal/d).

A steady-state finite-difference ground-water-flow model was developed to track water budgets, and to estimate optimal values for hydraulic conductivity of the bedrock (0.05 feet per day) and recharge to the overlying till deposits (6.9 inches) using nonlinear regression. Estimated recharge rates to the small basins ranged from 3.6 to 7.5 inches per year (in/yr) and relate to the percentage of the basin underlain by coarse-grained glacial stratified deposits. Recharge was not applied to impervious areas to account for the effects of urbanization. Net residential ground-water consumption was estimated as ground-water withdrawals increased during the growing season, and ranged from 0 to 0.9 in/yr.

Long-term average stream base flows simulated by the ground-water-flow model were compared to calculated values of average base flow and low flow to determine if base flow was substantially reduced in any of the basins studied. Three of the 32 basins studied had simulated base flows less than 3 in/yr, as a result of either ground-water withdrawals or reduced recharge due to urbanization. A water-availability criteria of the difference between the 30-day 2-year low flow and the recharge rate for each basin was explored as a method to rate the status of water consumption in each basin. Water consumption ranged from 0 to 14.3 percent of available water based on this criteria for the 32 basins studied.

Base-flow water quality was related to the amount of urbanized area in each basin sampled. Concentrations of total nitrogen and phosphorus, chloride, indicator bacteria, and the number of pesticide detections increased with basin urbanization, which ranged from 18 to 63 percent of basin area.




Purpose and Scope

Previous Investigations


Description of the Study Area


Surficial Deposits


Precipitation and Runoff

Methods of Data Collection and Analysis

Streamflow Measurements

Water-Level Measurements

Water-Quality Samples

Water-Use Data

Ground-Water Recharge in the Greenwich Area

Factors Affecting Ground-Water Recharge

Ground-Water Recharge and Discharge, 2001-02

Water Use in the Greenwich Area

Water Use at Residences with Public Water Supply

Log-Linear Regression Models of Residential Water Use

Variable Selection

Prediction of Residential Water Use in Areas with Domestic Wells

Estimation of Consumptive Water Use

Water Use at Nonresidential Properties

Simulation of Ground-Water Flow in the Greenwich Area

Description of Flow Model and Model Assumptions

Boundary Conditions

Ground-Water Recharge

Aquifer Properties

Internal Sources and Sinks of Water



Ground-Water Withdrawals and Return Flow from Septic Systems

Model Calibration

Hydrologic Budget

Ground-Water Availability in the Greenwich Area

Water Quality in the Greenwich Area

Summary and Conclusions

References Cited

Appendixes 1-4


Complete text of the report (2.67 MB PDF)


To view PDF documents, you must have the Adobe Acrobat Reader (free from Adobe Systems) installed on your computer. ( download free copy of Acrobat Reader).


Document Accessibility: Adobe Systems Incorporated has information about PDFs and the visually impaired. This information provides tools to help make PDF files accessible. These tools convert Adobe PDF documents into HTML or ASCII text, which then can be read by a number of common screen-reading programs that synthesize text as audible speech. In addition, an accessible version of Acrobat Reader 5.0 for Windows (English only), which contains support for screen readers, is available. These tools and the accessible reader may be obtained free from Adobe at Adobe Access.



For information and questions about this report, contact the author,

John Mullaney, Hydrologist,


101 Pitkin St.

East Hartford, CT 06108

Phone: (860) 291-6760



Copies of this report can be purchased from

U.S. Geological Survey
Branch of Information Services
Box 25286, Federal Center
Denver, CO 80225

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Persistent URL:
Page Contact Information: Contact USGS
Last modified: Thursday, September 01 2005, 02:24:39 PM
FirstGov button  Take Pride in America button