Payne, Scott M. and William W. Woessner, 2010. An Aquifer Classification System and Geographical Information System-Based Analysis Tool for Watershed Managers in the Western U.S. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 46(5):1003-1023. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-1688.2010.00472.x
Abstract: Aquifers and groundwater systems can be classified using a variety of independent methods to characterize geologic and hydraulic properties, the degree of connection with surface water, and geochemical conditions. In light of a growing global demand for water, an approach for classifying groundwater systems at the watershed scale is needed. A comprehensive classification system is proposed that combines recognized methods and new approaches. The purpose of classification is to provide groundwater professionals, policy makers, and watershed managers with a widely applicable and repeatable system that reduces sometimes cumbersome complex databases and analyzes to straightforward terminology and graphical representations. The proposed classification system uses basin geology, aquifer productivity, water quality, and the degree of groundwater/surface water connection as classification criteria. The approach is based on literature values, reference databases, and fundamental hydrologic and hydrogeologic principles. The proposed classification system treats dataset completeness as a variable and includes a tiered assessment protocol that depends on the quality and quantity of data. In addition, it assembles and catalogs groundwater information using a consistent set of nomenclature. It is designed to analyze and display results using Geographical Information System mapping tools.