Generalized hydrogeology and ground-water budget for the C Aquifer, Little Colorado River Basin and parts of the Verde and Salt River Basins, Arizona and New Mexico
Water-Resources Investigations Report 2002-4026
Prepared in cooperation with the National Park Service
- Robert J. Hart, John J. Ward, Donald J. Bills, and Marilyn E. Flynn
The C aquifer underlies the Little Colorado River Basin and parts of the Verde and Salt River Basins and is named for the primary water-bearing rock unit of the aquifer, the Coconino Sandstone. The areal extent of this aquifer is more than 27,000 square miles. More than 1,000 well and spring sites were identified in the U.S. Geological Survey database for the C aquifer in Arizona and New Mexico. The C aquifer is the most productive aquifer in the Little Colorado River Basin.
The Little Colorado River is the primary surface-water feature in the area, and it has a direct hydraulic connection with the C aquifer in some areas. Spring discharge as base flow from the C aquifer occurs predominantly in the lower 13 miles of the Little Colorado River subsequent to downward leakage into the deeper Redwall-Muav Limestone aquifer. Ground-water mounds or divides exist along the southern and northeastern boundaries of the Little Colorado River Basin. The ground-water divides are significant boundaries of the C aquifer; however, the location and persistence of the divides potentially can be affected by ground-water withdrawals.
Ground-water development in the C aquifer has increased steadily since the 1940s because population growth has produced an increased need for agricultural, industrial, and public water supply. Ground-water pumpage from the C aquifer during 1995 was about 140,000 acre-feet.
Ground-water budget components for the C aquifer were evaluated using measured or estimated discharge values. The system was assumed to be in a steady-state condition with respect to natural recharge and discharge, and the stability of discharge from major springs during the past several decades supported the steady-state assumption. Downward leakage to the Redwall-Muav Limestone aquifer is a major discharge component for the ground-water budget. Discharge from the C aquifer is estimated to be 319,000 acre-feet per year.
Additional Publication Details
- Publication type:
- Publication Subtype:
- USGS Numbered Series
- Generalized hydrogeology and ground-water budget for the C Aquifer, Little Colorado River Basin and parts of the Verde and Salt River Basins, Arizona and New Mexico
- Series title:
- Water-Resources Investigations Report
- Series number:
- Year Published:
- U.S. Geological Survey
- Publisher location:
- Tucson, AZ
- Report: vii, 45 p.; Errata: 1 p.
- Number of Pages:
- United States
- Arizona;New Mexico
- Other Geospatial:
- Little Colorado River Basin;Salt River Basin;Verde Basin
- Lambert Conformal Conic projection