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thumbnail new Pumping and Groundwater Decreases in Edwards-Trinity Aquifer in Texas –USGS, in cooperation with the Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District, Pecos County, City of Fort Stockton, Brewster County, and Pecos County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1, developed a groundwater-flow model of the Edwards-Trinity and related aquifers in parts of Brewster, Jeff Davis, Pecos, and Reeves Counties. The model was used to simulate groundwater levels resulting from prolonged pumping to evaluate sustainability of current and projected water-use demands. Scientists analyzed three scenarios to simulate a 30-year period from 2010 to 2040. Findings showed that an increase in pumping water year-round for the next 30 years may cause groundwater levels to decrease by as much as 32 feet in parts of the Edwards-Trinity Aquifer in west Texas. The Edwards-Trinity Aquifer in west Texas is a vital groundwater resource for agricultural, industrial, and public supply uses in the Pecos County region. Resource managers would like to understand the future availability of water in the Edwards-Trinity Aquifer and the effects of pumping or redistribution of groundwater resources over time. (Press release; Report)


thumbnail new Land Subsidence Along the Delta-Mendota Canal Poses Risk to Water Infrastructure in the Northern Part of the San Joaquin Valley, California –USGS, in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority, reports that extensive groundwater pumping from San Joaquin Valley aquifers is increasing the rate of land subsidence. Findings show that the subsidence rate doubled in 2008 in some areas around the Delta-Mendota Canal. This subsidence is reducing the capacity of the Delta-Mendota Canal, the California Aqueduct, and other canals that transport floodwater and deliver water to agriculture, cities, industry, and wildlife refuges. The USGS report also includes data from satellite-based interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) images that characterize a large subsidence bowl first seen by California Department of Water Resources surveys northeast of the Delta-Mendota Canal in 2008 and 2010. The InSAR images processed by USGS indicate that this bowl is much larger than originally believed, encompassing roughly 1,200 square miles and including part of the canal. Centered near the town of El Nido, it is bounded roughly by the towns of Merced on the north, Mendota on the south, Los Banos on the west and Madera on the east. (Press Release; Report)


thumbnail new Saltwater Intrusion in the Biscayne Aquifer, Florida –USGS, in cooperation with Miami-Dade County, have depicted saltwater intrusion in the Biscayne aquifer, which will help water managers protect the primary drinking water source for the county’s roughly 2.5 million residents. The new study, which uses information gathered through 2011, found that saltwater had intruded about 460 square miles of the mainland part of the county. The new report provides an updated understanding of the extent of saltwater in the aquifer, describing where saltwater has further intruded since last being mapped in 1995, where it has been pushed back toward the ocean and where it’s leaking from canals. Saltwater intrusion began in the area early in the 20th century when canals were dredged to drain the Everglades. As water levels in the Biscayne aquifer declined, saltwater from the ocean flowed inland along its base. (Press Release)


thumbnail new Groundwater Study Assesses Potential for Contamination of Drinking-Water Aquifers in Los Angeles, California –USGS, in cooperation with the Water Replenishment District of Southern California, reported that contaminated groundwater found at shallow depths in the northeastern portion of the Central Groundwater Basin in southern California could migrate to greater depths where many drinking water supply wells are located. Over two million residents get approximately 60 percent of their drinking water supply from these deeper aquifers. There are multiple sites in the northeast portion of the basin where shallow groundwater contamination is already being investigated and remediated under the oversight of several federal and state regulatory agencies. The results of this study will allow the Water Replenishment District to anticipate possible future contaminant migration and to plan accordingly to protect uncontaminated areas. Additionally, regulatory agencies can use the study results to inform future monitoring and cleanup actions for contaminated sites located in the Central Groundwater Basin. (Press Release; Report)


thumbnail new Groundwater and Surface Water Relations in Sonoma County, California –USGS, in cooperation with the Sonoma County Water Agency and other local agencies and municipalities, released a hydrologic model for the Santa Rosa Plain that shows a decrease in groundwater levels in response to pumping, which in turn causes a reduction in groundwater discharge to streams, a reduction in groundwater evapotranspiration, and a reduction in groundwater storage in the Santa Rosa Plain watershed. The model was used to better understand aquifer conditions for water years 1976 to 2010, and to simulate different scenarios of groundwater and surface-water availability given a range of groundwater pumping and climate conditions. The study helps to improve understanding of the complex hydrology of the Santa Rosa Plain watershed, which is home to about half of the population of Sonoma County and help water decision makers plan for increased water demand in the face of population growth, and possible climate change in the region. (Press Release; Report)


thumbnail new Artificial Recharge Affects Groundwater Levels and Water Quality in San Bernardino County, California –USGS, in cooperation with the Hi-Desert Water District, reported that the artificial replenishment of the groundwater aquifer system in the west hydrogeologic unit of the Warren groundwater basin in San Bernardino County’s Yucca Valley resulted in a decrease of nitrate concentrations in groundwater samples and a rise in water levels. The nitrate concentrations of the replenishment water were lower than the native groundwater. (Press Release; Report)


thumbnail new New Groundwater Model Used to Manage Water Resources around Wichita, Kansas –USGS, in cooperation with the City of Wichita, developed a groundwater model to accurately track available water, account for water that is artificially recharged into the aquifer, and monitor the movement of chloride. The study began in 2009 to determine groundwater flow in the Wichita well field area, and chloride transport from the Arkansas River and Burrton oil field. The model helps to determine effects on groundwater from changes in well pumping, rainfall, and streamflow. Results from this study are available (Report; Press release)

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