Ground-water resources in Mendocino County, California

Water-Resources Investigations Report 85-4258




Mendocino County includes about 3,500 sq mi of coastal northern California. Groundwater is the main source for municipal and individual domestic water systems and contributes significantly to irrigation. Consolidated rocks of the Franciscan Complex are exposed over most of the county. The consolidated rocks are commonly dry and generally supply < 5 gal/min of water to wells. Unconsolidated fill in the inland valleys consists of gravel, sand, silt, and clay. Low permeability in the fill caused by fine grain size and poor sorting limits well yields to less than 50 gal/min in most areas; where the fill is better sorted, yields of 1,000 gal/min can be obtained. Storage capacity estimates for the three largest basins are Ukiah Valley, 90,000 acre-ft; Little lake Valley, 35,000 acre-ft; and Laytonville Valley, 14,000 acre-ft. Abundant rainfall (35 to 56 in/yr) generally recharges these basins to capacity. Seasonal water level fluctuations since the 1950 's have been nearly constant, except during the 1976-77 drought. Chemical quality of water in basement rocks and valley fill is generally acceptable for most uses. Some areas along fault zones yield water with high boron concentrations ( <2 mg/L). Sodium chloride water with dissolved solids concentrations exceeding 1,000 mg/L is found in deeper parts of Little Lake Valley. (Author 's abstract)

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Ground-water resources in Mendocino County, California
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey,
vi, 81 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.