case studies

Fayette County, Tennessee: Recharge Research



Recharge Research

CAESER has been conducting recharge research at the Pinecrest Conference and Retreat Center in Fayette County for the past 15 years, focusing on avenues and rates of recharge to the Memphis aquifer.  Proper analysis has required well installations, regular monitoring of climatic data on a daily scale, assessing soil moisture fluctuations at sub-meter to 50-meter depths, stream gaging, hourly observation of groundwater levels, and numerical modeling. 

Quite astonishingly, the results show that rainfall percolates extremely slowly to the Memphis aquifer from upland surfaces (~100 years), but in the gullies that are just 500 meters from the hilltops, recharge occurs on a seasonal scale. Such realizations are critical for guiding development in the recharge area of the Memphis aquifer and evaluating the sustainability of our precious groundwater resources.