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Estimates of consumptive use and ground-water return flow and the effect of rising and sustained high river stage on the method of estimation in Cibola Valley, Arizona and California, 1983 and 1984

Water-Resources Investigations Report 89-4194

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Abstract

In Cibola Valley, Arizona, water is pumped from the Colorado River to irrigate crops and to maintain wildlife habitat. Unused water percolates to the water table and, as groundwater, moves downgradient into areas of phreatophytes, into a drainage ditch, out of the flood plain, and back to the river. In 1983 and 1984, groundwater return flow was negligible because in most of Cibola Valley the river lost water to the aquifer. Evapotranspiration was used as an approximation for consumptive use by vegetation. Evapotranspiration was calculated as the sum of the products of the area of vegetation types and water-use rate by vegetation type. Evapotranspiration was estimated to be 70,100 acre-ft in 1983 and 62,600 acre-ft in 1984. These estimates may be in error because of the effect of sustained inundation on the rate of water use by phreatophytes. The effects cannot be quantified and therefore adjustments to rates calculated for dry-surface conditions could not be made. The method of estimating consumptive use of water by vegetation and groundwater return flow is affected by changing conditions during years of rising and sustained high river stage caused by flood-control releases at Parker Dam. Most of the bank storage that will return to the river when the high river stage subsides did not originate as irrigation water. High river stage caused some areas to be flooded directly or raised groundwater levels above the land surface. No crops could be grown in flooded fields. The decreased depth to water and inundation with fresh water resulted in new phreatophyte growth in some areas. In some areas that were flooded, many phreatophytes died. Changes in the inundated and flooded areas throughout the years made it difficult to estimate the evaporation losses from the increased water surface. (USGS)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Estimates of consumptive use and ground-water return flow and the effect of rising and sustained high river stage on the method of estimation in Cibola Valley, Arizona and California, 1983 and 1984
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
89-4194
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1990
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey ; Books and Open-File Reports Section [distributor],
Description:
v, 41 p. :ill., maps (some col.) ;28 cm.