The Mojave River and Morongo ground-water basins are in the southwestern part of the Mojave Desert in southern California. Ground water from these basins supplies a major part of the water requirements for the region. The continuous population growth in this area has resulted in ever-increasing demands on local ground-water resources. The collection and interpretation of ground-water data helps local water districts, military bases, and private citizens gain a better understanding of the ground-water flow systems, and consequently, water availability.
During 2002, the U.S. Geological Survey and other agencies made approximately 2,500 water-level measurements in the Mojave River and Morongo ground-water basins. These data document recent conditions and, when compared with previous data, changes in ground-water levels. A water-level contour map was drawn using data from about 600 wells, providing coverage for most of the basins. Twenty-eight hydrographs show long-term (up to 70 years) water-level conditions throughout the basins, and 9 short-term (1997 to 2002) hydrographs show the effects of recharge and discharge along the Mojave River. In addition, a water-level-change map was compiled to compare 2000 and 2002 water levels throughout the basins.
In the Mojave River ground-water basin, about 66 percent of the wells had water-level declines of 0.5 ft or more since 2000 and about 27 percent of the wells had water-level declines greater than 5 ft. The only area that had water-level increases greater than 5 ft that were not attributed to fluctuations in nearby pumpage was in the Harper Lake (dry) area where there has been a significant reduction in pumpage during the last decade. In the Morongo ground-water basin, about 36 percent of the wells had water-level declines of 0.5 ft or more and about 10 percent of the wells had water-level declines greater than 5 ft. Water-level increases greater than 5 ft were measured only in the Warren subbasin, where artificial-recharge operations have caused water levels to rise almost 60 ft since 2000.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Regional Water Table (2002) and Water-Level Changes in the Mojave River and Morongo Ground-Water Basins, Southwestern Mojave Desert, California