Water resources of the Lower Rio Grande de Arecibo alluvial valley, Puerto Rico

Water-Resources Investigations Report 85-4160




An assessment of the surface and groundwater resources of the lower Rio Grande de Arecibo alluvial valley was made between 1981 and 1983. Rio Grande de Arecibo is the major source of water in the valley with a mean-annual discharge of 527 cu ft/sec (382,000 acre-ft/yr). Its lowest mean-daily flow (low flow) during 12 yr of record is 50 cu ft/sec. Withdrawals of water from Rio Grande de Arecibo exceeding 15 cu ft/sec during periods of extreme low flows could cause reduction of recharge to the aquifer. However, withdrawals of as much as 35 cu ft/sec are possible when base flow ranges from 90 to 200 cu ft/sec without causing a reduction of aquifer recharge. An unconfined aquifer within the alluvial valley is hydraulically continuous with bordering limestone formations. A clay layer divides the alluvial aquifer into two separate hydraulic systems. Groundwater from the alluvial aquifer above the clay layer has not been widely developed. However, high yielding wells presently yield as much as 9.6 mil gal/day (10,800 acre-ft/yr) from the aquifers occurring below the clay layer within the alluvium and underlaying limestones. Transmissivity ranges from 3,000 sq ft/day in the alluvial area to 42,000 sq ft/day in the adjacent limestone areas. Total groundwater flow through aquifers within the study area (excluding water withdrawn by wells) is about 20.6 mil gal/day (23,100 acre-ft/yr). 50% of this amount is estimated to flow to the eastern area of Cano Tiburones and discharges as springs and seeps. An estimated 9.4 mil gal/day (10,500 acre-ft/yr) of additional groundwater can be withdrawn from the aquifers below the clay layer without reversing the northward hydraulic gradient. Seepage from Rio Grande de Arecibo to the groundwater system at the east side of the valley is probably the key to the development of groundwater resources in the Arecibo area. San Pedro spring, with an average discharge of 8.6 mil gal/day (9,600 acre-ft/yr), is undeveloped and represents a potential alternate source of water. (Author 's abstract)

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Water resources of the Lower Rio Grande de Arecibo alluvial valley, Puerto Rico
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
vi, 38 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.