My research program uses groundwater modeling techniques and field data collection to quantify the controls on groundwater flux through unconfined aquifers. In general, this water begins as recharge and flows through an unconfined aquifer until it returns to the surface through some form of groundwater discharge (submarine groundwater discharge in marine settings, baseflow in riparian settings). I study this general problem in a variety of settings, from coastal barrier and barrier-island aquifers of the Outer Banks and southwestern England to the alluvial aquifers adjacent to mountain streams in northwestern North Carolina. Climate controls drive variations in groundwater flux in unconfined aquifers and, therefore, they also drive my research. Field-data collections and laboratory experiments (numerical and analytical simulations) are the tools that I use to conduct experiments with field data or to generate synthetic data for analysis.
My research involves a variety of collaborations. Most recently, Dr. Chuanhui Gu, a colleague in the Department of Geology at ASU, and I have been using a variety of methods to study the interactions between groundwater and streams. Our work primarily involves field data collected at the ASU Educational and Research Wellfield, but it has also involved data collected in Boone Creek in Boone and on the ASU campus. During the spring and summer 2011, I spent seven months as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Plymouth, UK, where I worked with a graduate school colleague of mine, Dr. Roland Gehrels, on a project looking at new methods of reconstructing past changes in sea level. This work is on-going. A former departmental colleague, Dr. Ryan Emanuel, now at NC State, and I have collaborated on studies of climate influences on groundwater resources in North Carolina. This work is also on-going.
News and Updates
- August 2012 - Departmental colleague Dr. Chuanhui Gu, Bill, and Federico Maggi of the University of Sydney, Australia, have a manuscript accepted by Water Resources Research, a journal published by the American Geophysical Union.
- July 2012 - Bill becomes the Interim Chair of the Department of Geology.
- May 2012 - Bill completes his chapter on Coastal Groundwater as part of Coastal Processes and Global Change, edited by Gerd Masselink and Roland Gehrels of the University of Plymouth, UK. The book will be published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2013.
- May 2012 - Two new stream gauges are installed in Boone Creek, one outside of Varsity Gym on the ASU campus and one at Jimmy Smith Park. These wells will be used to collect stream stage data and, when combined with rating curves, will provide stream discharge values.
- April 2012 - Eight new monitoring wells have been installed in the ASU Education and Research Wellfield at the Boone Greenway. This brings the total number of monitoring wells to 16 in addition to one stream gauge. Water levels, groundwater temperatures and electrical conductivity data are collected in most of these wells at intervals of 15 minutes for wells closest to the stream to one hour at large distances from the river.