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Evaluation of a monitoring program for assessing the effects of management practices on the quantity and quality of drainwater from the Panoche Water District, western San Joaquin Valley, California

Open-File Report 95-731

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Abstract

An evaluation was made of an existing monitoring program in the Panoche Water District for 1986-93. The Panoche Water District is an agricultural area located in the western San Joaquin Valley of California. Because irrigation drainage from this area has high concentrations of dissolved solids and selenium, management strategies have been developed to improve the quality of drainwater discharge. The purpose of the Panoche Water District's monitoring program is to assess the effects of water- and land-use practices on local ground water and drain flow from the district. Drainflow from the district consists of the discharge from 50 separate on-farm underground tile-drainage systems. The Panoche Water District maintains information on water deliveries, planned and actual crop types, and planned and actual acreages planted each year. In addition, the water district monitors ground-water and drainage-system discharges using a variety of data-collection methods. A total of 62 observation well sites are used to monitor ground-water level and quality. A total of 42 sites were monitored for drainflow quantity, and drain flow quality samples were collected from the outlets of each of the 50 drainage systems. However, these data were collected inconsistently and (or) intermittently during the period studied. All data obtained from the water district were compiled and stored in a geographic information system database. Water delivered for irrigation by the Panoche Water District is a mix of imported water and local ground water pumped directly into delivery canals. Although delivered water is a mix, information on the proportion of water from the two sources is not reported. Also, individual growers pump directly to their crops unknown quantities of ground water, the total of which could be greater than 60 percent of total applications during years when water district deliveries are greatly reduced (for example, the years during and following a drought). To evaluate the effects of irrigation on ground-water and drainflow quality, data on the combined chemical characteristics and the volume of water applied to crops are needed as part of the district's monitoring program. For example, without these data, this study could estimate only the effects of irrigation on ground-water recharge for 1986 (60.4 106 m3/y), 1987 (74.2 106 m3/y), and 1988 (56.0 106 m3/y) in the Panoche Water District water years when the amount of ground water pumped by individual growers was probably small. Water-level data show a significant decline of the water table in the upslope, undrained parts of the study area, and little or no significant change in the down slope, drained parts of the study area. Pumping from productions wells, most of which are located in the upslope part of the study area, may have contributed to the decline of the water table in the upslope area. The quantities of drainflow, dissolved solids, and selenium discharged from the study area decreased during the study period. However, drainflow, dissolved solids, and selenium discharged from individual on-farm drainage systems did not decrease. These data also illustrate the need for consistent and regular monitoring of the factors that affect drainage in the western San Joaquin Valley.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Evaluation of a monitoring program for assessing the effects of management practices on the quantity and quality of drainwater from the Panoche Water District, western San Joaquin Valley, California
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
95-731
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1995
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey ; Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Report Section [distributor],
Description:
iv, 25 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.