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Effects of climate, vegetation, and soils on consumptive water use and ground-water recharge to the Central Midwest Regional aquifer system, Mid-continent United States

Water-Resources Investigations Report 85-4236

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Abstract

The Central Midwest aquifer system, in parts of Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Texas, is a region of great hydrologic diversity. This study examines the relationships between climate, vegetation, and soil that affect consumptive water use and recharge to the groundwater system. Computations of potential recharge and consumptive water use were restricted to those areas where the aquifers under consideration were the immediate underlying system. The principal method of analysis utilized a soil moisture computer model. This model requires four types of input: (1) hydrologic properties of the soils, (2) vegetation types, (3) monthly precipitation, and (4) computed monthly potential evapotranspiration (PET) values. The climatic factors that affect consumptive water use and recharge were extensively mapped for the study area. Nearly all the pertinent climatic elements confirmed the extreme diversity of the region. PET and those factors affecting it--solar radiation, temperature, and humidity--showed large regional differences; mean annual PET ranged from 36 to 70 inches in the study area. The seasonal climatic patterns indicate significant regional differences in those factors affecting seasonal consumptive water use and recharge. In the southern and western parts of the study area, consumptive water use occurred nearly the entire year; whereas, in northern parts it occurred primarily during the warm season (April through September). Results of the soil-moisture program, which added the effects of vegetation and the hydrologic characteristics of the soil to computed PET values, confirmed the significant regional differences in consumptive water use or actual evapotranspiration (AET) and potential groundwater recharge. Under two different vegetative conditions--the 1978 conditions and pre-agricultural conditions consisting of only grassland and woodland--overall differences in recharge were minimal. Mean annual recharge under both conditions averaged slightly more than 4.5 inches for the entire study area, but ranged from less than 0.10 inches in eastern Colorado to slightly more than 15 inches in Arkansas. (Lantz-PTT)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Effects of climate, vegetation, and soils on consumptive water use and ground-water recharge to the Central Midwest Regional aquifer system, Mid-continent United States
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
85-4236
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1985
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Description:
viii, 78 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.