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This is the second appraisal of the water supply of Pahrump Valley, made 15 years after the first cooperative study. In the first report the average recharge was estimated to be 23,000 acre-feet per year, only 1,000 acre-feet more than the estimate made in this report. All this recharge was considered to be available for development. Because of the difficulty in salvaging the subsurface outflow from the deep carbonate-rock reservoir, this report concludes that the perennial yield may be only 25,000 acre-feet.
In 1875, Bennetts and Manse Springs reportedly discharged a total of nearly 10,000 acre-feet of water from the valley-fill reservoir. After the construction of several flowing wells in 1910, the spring discharge began to decline. In the mid-1940's many irrigation wells were drilled, and large-capacity pumps were installed. During the 4-year period of this study (1959-62), the net pumping draft averaged about 25,000 acre-feet per year, or about twice the estimated yield. In 1962 Bennetts Spring was dry, and the discharge from Marse Spring was only 1,400 acre-feet.
During the period February 1959-February 1962, pumping caused an estimated storage depletion of 45,000 acre-feet, or 15,000 acre-feet per year. If the overdraft is maintained, depletion of stored water will continue and pumping costs will increase. Water levels in the vicinity of the Pahrump, Manse, and Fowler Ranches declined more than ]0 feet in response to the pumping during this period, and they can be expected to continue to decline at ,the projected rate of more than 3 feet per year.
The chemical quality of the pumped water has been satisfactory for irrigation and domestic use. Recycling of water pumped or irrigation, however, could result in deterioration of the water quality with time.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Hydrology of the Valley-fill and carbonate-rock reservoirs, Pahrump Valley, Nevada-California