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USGS Groundwater Information > January 1, 2016 Highlights

USGS Monthly Groundwater News and Highlights: January 1, 2016

Featured Product: Understanding and Managing the Effects of Groundwater Pumping on Streamflow

 [ Diagram of residual effects of streamflow depletion after pumping stops ]

It is a common misconception that streamflow depletion stops when groundwater pumping stops. This diagram shows the residual effects of streamflow depletion after pumping stops.
A. Prior to the well being shut down, the pumping rate at the well is balanced by decreases in aquifer storage and by streamflow depletion, which consists of captured groundwater discharge and induced infiltration of streamflow.
B. After pumping stops, groundwater levels begin to recover, water flows into aquifer storage to refill the cone of depression created by the previous pumping stress, and streamflow depletion continues.
C. Eventually, the system may return to its pre-pumping condition with no additional changes in aquifer storage or streamflow depletion. [Q, pumping rate at well].

Wells that pump groundwater out of aquifers can reduce the amount of groundwater that flows into rivers and streams, which can have detrimental effects on aquatic ecosystems and the availability of surface water.

Estimation of rates, locations, and timing of streamflow depletion due to groundwater pumping is needed for water-resource managers and users throughout the United States, but the complexity of groundwater and surface-water systems and their interactions presents a major challenge. The understanding of streamflow depletion and evaluation of water-management practices have improved during recent years through the use of computer models that simulate aquifer conditions and the effects of pumping groundwater on streams. Learn more:

Overview: Understanding and Managing the Effects of Groundwater Pumping on Streamflow (USGS Fact Sheet)

In depth: Streamflow Depletion by Wells — Understanding and Managing the Effects of Groundwater Pumping on Streamflow (USGS Circular)

Animation of Groundwater Watch Active Water Level Network, 30 days

The USGS Active Groundwater Level Network includes about 20,000 wells that have been measured by the USGS or USGS cooperators at least once within the past 13 months. The animation shows a daily snapshot of water-level statistics in the network for December 2015. Credit: USGS. The image is in the public domain.

USGS Groundwater-Related Publications

Groundwater and surface-water interaction and effects of pumping in a complex glacial-sediment aquifer, phase 2, east-central Massachusetts

Effects of projected climate (2011-50) on karst hydrology and species vulnerability — Edwards aquifer, south-central Texas, and Madison aquifer, western South Dakota

Hydrogeology of the Owego-Apalachin Elementary School geothermal fields, Tioga County, New York

Evaluating connection of aquifers to springs and streams, Great Basin National Park and vicinity, Nevada

Estimating natural recharge in San Gorgonio Pass watersheds, California, 1913-2012

Simulated responses of streams and ponds to groundwater withdrawals and wastewater return flows in southeastern Massachusetts

Regional potentiometric surface of the Ozark aquifer in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, November 2014-January 2015

Historical and projected climate (1901-2050) and hydrologic response of karst aquifers, and species vulnerability in south-central Texas and western South Dakota

Water use in Georgia by county for 2010 and water-use trends, 1985-2010

Characterization of the extremely arsenic-resistant Brevibacterium linens strain AE038-8 isolated from contaminated groundwater in Tucumán, Argentina

Hydrologic data for the Walker River Basin, Nevada and California, water years 2010-14

Potentiometric surface of the Catahoula aquifer in central Louisiana, 2013

smwrBase — An R package for managing hydrologic data, version 1.1.1

A statistical learning framework for groundwater nitrate models of the Central Valley, California, USA

Contrasting distributions of groundwater arsenic and uranium in the western Hetao basin, Inner Mongolia: Implication for origins and fate controls

Occurrence and transport of selected constituents in streams near the Stibnite mining area, Central Idaho, 2012-14

Characterization of hydrology and water quality of Piceance Creek in the Alkali Flat area, Rio Blanco County, Colorado, March 2012

Sustainable groundwater management in California

U.S. Geological Survey National Water Census: Colorado River Basin Geographic Focus Area Study

Hydrogeochemistry of prairie pothole region wetlands: Role of long-term critical zone processes

USGS Groundwater-Related Software Updates and New Releases



Field Photos:

USGS scientists study the hydrogeology of geothermal fields around the United States. The insights gained during these studies can be beneficial for the design of the geothermal drilling program and protection of the overlying aquifer during construction. Our improved understanding of these important natural resources may also be useful for the development of future geothermal fields and other energy-related activities, such as drilling for oil and natural gas in similar fractured-bedrock settings. These field photos are from USGS science activities at two different study sites.

Photo of drilling rigs and geophysical logging truck

Hydraulic-rotary and air-percussion drilling rigs and geophysical logging truck during construction and data collection at the Owego-Apalachin Elementary School geothermal fields, Tioga County, New York, August 11, 2014. Learn more about this study. Photo Credit: USGS/John Williams. Photo is in the public domain. Click on a photo for larger version.

Photo of USGS scientists preparing geophysical tool in the field

Hydrogeophysical logging of a test hole at the edge of a Marcellus gas-well pad, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, August 19, 2014. USGS scientists are holding a geophysical tool that will be lowered into a well. Note their safety gear, including hardhats, safety glasses, steel-toe boots, and fire-retardant coveralls. Photo Credit: USGS/John Williams. Photo is in the public domain. Click on a photo for larger version.

Archive of Past Highlights:

Past monthly summaries are available online.

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