Hydrogeology of Webb County, Texas

Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5022




Introduction: Webb County, in semiarid South Texas on the U.S.-Mexico border, is a region confronted by increasing stresses on natural resources. Laredo (fig. 1), the largest city in Webb County (population 193,000 in 2000), was one of the 10 fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the country during 1990-2000 (Perry and Mackun, 2001). Commercial and industrial activities have expanded throughout the region to support the maquiladora industry (manufacturing plants in Mexico) along the border and other growth as a result of the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The Rio Grande currently (2002) is the primary source of public water supply for Laredo and other cities along the border in Webb County (fig. 1). Other cities, such as Bruni and Mirando City in the southeastern part of the county, rely on ground-water supplies to meet municipal demands. Increased water demand associated with development and population growth in the region has increased the need for the City of Laredo and Webb County to evaluate alternative water sources to meet future demand. Possible options include (1) supplementing the surface-water supply with ground water, and (2) applying artificial storage and recovery (ASR) technology to recharge local aquifers. These options raise issues regarding the hydraulic capability of the aquifers to store economically substantial quantities of water, current or potential uses of the resource, and possible effects on the quality of water resulting from mixing ground water with alternative source waters. To address some of these issues, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the City of Laredo, began a study in 1996 to assess the ground-water resources of Webb County. A hydrogeologic study was conducted to review and analyze available information on the hydrogeologic units (aquifers and confining units) in Webb County, to locate available wells in the region with water-level and water-quality information from the aquifers, and to analyze the hydraulic properties of the aquifers. The purpose of this report is to document the findings of the study. The information is organized by hydrogeologic unit and presented on this and six other sheets.

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USGS Numbered Series
Hydrogeology of Webb County, Texas
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Scientific Investigations Report
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7 plates