As of 1999, surface water collected and stored in reservoirs is the sole source of municipal water for the city of Williams.
During 1996 and 1999, reservoirs reached historically low levels. Understanding the ground-water flow system is critical to managing the ground-water resources in this part of the Coconino Plateau. The nearly 1,000-meter-deep regional aquifer in the Redwall and Muav Limestones, however, makes studying or utilizing the resource difficult.
Near-vertical faults and complex geologic structures control the ground-water flow system on the southwest side of the Kaibab Uplift near Williams, Arizona. To address the hydrogeologic complexities in the study area, a suite of techniques, which included aeromagnetic, gravity, square-array resistivity, and audiomagnetotelluric surveys, were applied as part of a regional study near Bill Williams Mountain. Existing well data and interpreted geophysical data were compiled and used to estimate depths to the water table and to prepare a potentiometric map. Geologic characteristics, such as secondary porosity, coefficient of anisotropy, and fracture-strike direction, were calculated at several sites to examine how these characteristics change with depth.
The 14-kilometer-wide, seismically active northwestward-trending Cataract Creek and the northeastward-trending Mesa Butte Fault systems intersect near Bill Williams Mountain. Several north-south-trending faults may provide additional block faulting north and west of Bill Williams Mountain. Because of the extensive block faulting and regional folding, the volcanic and sedimentary rocks are tilted toward one or more of these faults. These faults provide near-vertical flow paths to the regional water table. The nearly radial fractures allow water that reaches the regional aquifer to move away from the Bill Williams Mountain area.
Depth to the regional aquifer is highly variable and depends on location and local structures. On the basis of interpreted audiomagnetotelluric and square-array resistivity sounding curves and limited well data, depths to water may range from 450 to 1,300 meters.