USGS - science for a changing world

USGS Groundwater Information

Groundwater Resources Program

*  Home *  Regional GW Studies *  GW & Environment * Methods & Modeling *  Publications *  Data & Information
 [Photo: Groundwater flowing out of well.]

New & Noteworthy

* Press Release: Study Explores Groundwater and Geothermal Energy in Drought-Stricken Eastern Oregon and Neighboring States

* Technical Announcement: USGS Issues Revised Framework for Hydrogeology of Floridan Aquifer

* Press Release: High Plains Aquifer Groundwater Levels Continue to Decline

* Regional Groundwater Availability Study Geospatial Data

* Press Release: USGS Assesses Current Groundwater-Quality Conditions in the Williston Basin Oil Production Area

Past listings...

USGS Groundwater Watch

USGS maintains a network of active wells to provide basic statistics about groundwater levels.

 [Image: USGS active water level wells location map.]

Other Water Topics

*  Water Resources

*  Groundwater

*  Surface Water

*  Water Quality

*  Water Use

USGS in Your State

USGS Water Science Centers are located in each state.

 [Map: There is a USGS Water Science Center office in each State.] Washington Oregon California Idaho Nevada Montana Wyoming Utah Colorado Arizona New Mexico North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Texas Minnesota Iowa Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Wisconsin Illinois Mississippi Michigan Indiana Ohio Kentucky Tennessee Alabama Pennsylvania West Virginia Georgia Florida Caribbean Alaska Hawaii and Pacific Islands New York Vermont New Hampshire Maine Massachusetts South Carolina North Carolina Rhode Island Virginia Connecticut New Jersey Maryland-Delaware-D.C.

Water-Table Fluctuation (WTF) Method

Estimating Specific Yield (Sy)

“The specific yield (Sy) of a rock or soil, with respect to water, is the ratio of (1) the volume of water which, after being saturated, it will yield by gravity to (2) its own volume” ( Meinzer 1923). The following formula is generally used as an operational definition of Sy:

Sy = f - Sr      (1)

where f is porosity and Sr is specific retention (the volume of water retained by the rock per unit volume of rock). Specific yield is treated as a storage term, independent of time that in theory accounts for the instantaneous release of water from storage. In reality, the release of water is not instantaneous. Rather, the release can take an exceptionally long time, especially for fine-grained sediments. The fact that Sy is not constant but varies as a function of depth to the water table is described from the perspective of soil physics by Childs (1960).

Estimates of Sy for application in the WTF method typically are derived from laboratory or field approaches. Laboratory approaches usually involve column-drainage experiments or determination of the moisture-retention curve for a soil. Field approaches include aquifer tests, water budgets, geophysical surveys, and field-capacity tests. The reader is referred to Healy and Cook (2002) for a detailed discussion on methods for estimating Sy.


USGS Home Water Climate and Land Use Change Core Science Systems Ecosystems Energy and Minerals Environmental Health Natural Hazards

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Contact the Groundwater Resources Program
Page Last Modified: Tuesday, 03-Jan-2017 20:46:54 EST