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A preliminary assessment of streamflow gains and losses for selected stream reaches in the lower Guadalupe River Basin, Texas, 2010-12

Scientific Investigations Report 2013-5209

Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers–Fort Worth District, the Texas Water Development Board, the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, and the Edwards Aquifer Authority
By:
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DOI: 10.3133/sir20135209

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Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers–Fort Worth District, the Texas Water Development Board, the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, and the Edwards Aquifer Authority, investigated streamflow gains and losses in the lower Guadalupe River Basin during four selected base-flow periods in March 2010, April 2011, August 2011, and, for a stream reach between Seguin, Tex., and Gonzales, Tex., in September 2012. Major sources of streamflow in this basin include releases from Canyon Lake, inflow from major springs (Comal Springs, San Marcos Springs, and Hueco Springs), and base flow (groundwater seeping to streams). Streamflow and spring-flow data were collected at 35 streamflow-gaging stations (including 6 deployed for this study) during the base-flow periods. This report describes streamflow in the lower Guadalupe River Basin, which consists of the Guadalupe River drainage basin downstream from Canyon Lake to the Guadalupe River near Tivoli, Tex. Streamflow conditions in the lower Guadalupe River Basin were analyzed by computing surface-water budgets for reaches of the lower Guadalupe River and tributary streams. Streamflow gains and losses were mapped for reaches where the computed gain or loss was greater than the uncertainty in the computed streamflow at the upstream and downstream ends of the reach. During the March 15–21, 2010, base-flow period, five reaches had gains greater than the uncertainty in the computed streamflow, including reach 1 on the Guadalupe River, which gained 130 cubic feet per second (ft3/s), and reach 3 on the Comal River, which gained 359 ft3/s. Streamflow gains during March 2010 primarily were derived from (1) inflow from the Edwards aquifer outcrop, including Hueco Springs and Comal Springs; (2) flow conveyed through the alluvium of the streambed; (3) inflows from the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer and the Yegua Jackson aquifer; and (4) groundwater inflows from the Gulf Coast aquifer, which are enhanced by seepage losses from Coleto Creek Reservoir. During this base-flow period, none of the reaches had a loss greater in magnitude than the uncertainty in the computed streamflow. During the April 10–16, 2011, base-flow period, three reaches had gains greater than the uncertainty in the computed streamflow. Among these three reaches were reach 1 on the Guadalupe River, which gained 40.7 ft3/s, and reach 3 on the Comal River, which gained 271 ft3/s—reaches where streamflow gains were also measured in March 2010. Streamflow gains during April 2011 primarily were derived from (1) inflow from the Edwards aquifer outcrop, including Hueco Springs and Comal Springs; and (2) inflows from the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer. During this base-flow period, three reaches had losses greater in magnitude than the uncertainty in the computed streamflow. A reach of the Blanco River near Kyle, Tex. (reach 10), lost 18.7 cubic feet per second (ft3/s). Much of this loss likely entered the groundwater system through the numerous faults that intersect the stream channel northwest of Kyle. The reach that included the confluence of the Guadalupe and San Marcos Rivers (reach 17) lost 155 ft3/s, likely as recharge to the Sparta and Queen City aquifers. During the August 19–25, 2011, base-flow period, three reaches had gains greater than the uncertainty in the computed streamflow, including reach 3 on the Comal River (168 ft3/s gain), which was one of the reaches where gains in streamflow also were measured in March 2010 and April 2011. Streamflow gains in August 2011 were primarily from (1) inflows from Comal Springs, (2) inflows from the Yegua Jackson aquifer, and (3) groundwater inflows from the Gulf Coast aquifer, which are enhanced by seepage losses from Coleto Creek Reservoir. During this base-flow period, five reaches had losses greater in magnitude than the uncertainty in the computed streamflow. The reach including the confluence of the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers lost 82.8 ft3/s. Much of that loss likely seeped into the local groundwater system. The reach of the Guadalupe River south of New Braunfels, Tex., to Seguin, Tex., lost 53.5 ft3/s. Part of that loss may have been from seepage through streambed alluvium. Reaches 9 and 10 of the Blanco River near Kyle lost 2.20 and 6.60 ft3/s, respectively, likely as infiltration through numerous faults intersecting the stream channel northwest of Kyle. Plum Creek between Lockhart, Tex., and Luling, Tex., lost 2.11 ft3/s, likely as recharge to the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer. A base-flow period during September 22–28, 2012, was studied for the reach of the Guadalupe River between Seguin and Gonzalez, including flows from San Marcos River and Plum Creek. During this period, for the Guadalupe River reach between Seguin and Oak Forest, no computed gains or losses were greater in magnitude than the uncertainty in the computed streamflow.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
A preliminary assessment of streamflow gains and losses for selected stream reaches in the lower Guadalupe River Basin, Texas, 2010-12
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2013-5209
DOI:
10.3133/sir20135209
Year Published:
2013
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Texas Water Science Center
Description:
v, 30 p.
Number of Pages:
39
Time Range Start:
2010-01-01
Time Range End:
2012-12-01
Country:
United States
State:
Texas
Other Geospatial:
Guadalupe River Basin
Datum:
North American Datum of 1983
Scale:
100000
Online Only (Y/N):
N