Most private wells in the Kentucky River Basin are in unconfined or semi-confined bedrock aquifers. Within these aquifers, high-yield zones are irregularly distributed. The most productive wells are drilled into fractured bedrock and alluvium along the Kentucky River floodplain. The data indicate that ground water acts as a buffer to peak and low flows in Kentucky River Basin streams. At current withdrawal rates, ground-water usage does not seem to have an adverse impact on the Kentucky River. Privately owned ground-water sources supply approximately 135,000 people living in the basin-approximately 19 percent of the total population and 36 percent of the rural population. More than 50 percent of residential water supplies in eastern Kentucky rely on ground water. If aquifers are protected from pollution by wellhead protection programs and old wells are retrofitted to prevent direct contamination, then ground water will continue to provide a reliable water supply in many rural areas of the basin. However, for most of the basin, few wells will have yields adequate to supply a large demand. Ground water from present wells will not provide an adequate supply for communities with a population of over a few thousand. Limited discharge data available for springs and large wells in the basin strongly suggest that the potential for ground water to supplement current supplies should not be ignored. Discharge from well fields and springs could be used to augment surface supplies during drought. A better understanding of the distribution and quality of ground-water resources is crucial for the citizens of the basin to fully benefit from ground water.
Information Circular 52
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Carey, Daniel I.; Currens, James C.; Dinger, James S.; Kipp, James A.; Wunsch, David R.; and Conrad, Philip G., "Ground Water in the Kentucky River Basin" (1994). Kentucky Geological Survey Information Circular. 56.