Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Nicholas Crawford, Kenneth Kuehn, Stuart Foster

Degree Program

Department of Geography and Geology

Degree Type

Master of Science


The City of Auburn is faced with a number of problems relating to its dependency on two karst springs, Auburn and Summers Springs, to meet its water requirements. Besides being extremely vulnerable to contamination, the springs often discharge and insufficient volume of water needed for public consumption and dilution of the City’s treated wastewater. Thus the City wishes to find an additional source of water and views nearby Shakertown Spring as a possibility. The study has three main objectives: 1) delineation of the Auburn, Summers, and Shakertown Springs ground water basins, 2) determination of the volume of available water at each spring, and 3) investigation of additional potential water supplies as alternatives to the use of Shakertown Spring. A well survey and karst hydrogeological inventory, supplemented by dye tracing, were conducted to reveal water table information necessary for ground water basin delineation and construction of a potentiometric map. Water monitoring stations were constructed at the three springs, discharge measurements performed and stage monitored over a fifteen month period. The Auburn, Summers, and SHakertown Springs Karst Ground Water Basins are estimated to possess areas of 9.74, 3.49 and 19.02 square miles (25.23, 9.04, and 49.26 square kilometers) respectively. Summers Spring was found to have an estimated base flow discharge of 1 – 2 cubic feet per second (cfs) (0.03 – 0.06 cubic meters per second (cms)) and Shakertown Spring an estimated base flow discharge of 8 – 9 cfs (0.2-0.3 cms). Estimation of base flow discharge at Auburn Spring was not possible due to the location of the City’s water intake pipe at the spring head. However, a minimum discharge of .22 cfs (0.01 cms) was recorded on thirteen separate occasions during the period monitored. Five alternatives for the City of Auburn, including Shakertown Spring and two additional, though smaller, water sources are presented. The best source of water for the City must be decided with consideration of cost and need. A potentiometric map depicting ground water basins, water table contours and subsurface flow routes is presented as a tool for the City of Auburn to aid in decisions regarding its water resources.


Earth Sciences | Environmental Sciences | Fresh Water Studies | Hydrology | Sustainability | Urban Studies and Planning | Water Resource Management