Electrical-analog analysis of ground-water depletion in central Arizona

Water Supply Paper 1860




The Salt River Valley and the lower Santa Cruz River basin are the two largest agricultural areas in Arizona. The extensive use of ground water for irrigation has resulted in the need for a thorough appraisal of the present and future ground-water resources. The ground-water reservoir provides 80 percent (3.2 million acre-feet) of the total annual water supply. The amount of water pumped greatly exceeds the rate at which the ground-water supply is being replenished and has resulted in water-level declines of as much as 20 feet per year in some places. The depletion problem is of economic importance because ground water will become more expensive as pumping lifts increase and well yields decrease. The use of electrical-analog modeling techniques has made it possible to predict future ground-water levels under conditions of continued withdrawal in excess of the rate of replenishment. The electrical system is a representation of the hydrologic system: resistors and capacitors represent transmissibility and storage coefficients. The analogy between the two systems is accepted when the data obtained from the model closely match the field data in this instance, measured water-level change since 1923. The prediction of future water-table conditions is accomplished by a simple extension of the pumping trends to determine the resultant effect on the regional water levels. The results of this study indicate the probable depths to water in central Arizona in 1974 and 1984 if the aquifer characteristics are accurately modeled and if withdrawal of ground water continues at the same rate and under the tame areal distribution as existed between 1958 and 1964. The greatest depths to water in 1984 will be more than 700 feet near Stanfield and more than 650 feet in Deer Valley and northeast of Gilbert. South of Eloy and northwest of Litchfield Park, a static water level of more than 550 feet is predicted. The total water-level decline in the 20-year period 1964-84 at the deepest points of the major cones of depression will range from 150 to 300 feet, and the average decline in the entire central Arizona area will be about 100 feet.

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USGS Numbered Series
Electrical-analog analysis of ground-water depletion in central Arizona
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Water Supply Paper
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U.S. Govt. Print. Off.,
iii, 21 p. :illus., maps (part fold. col. in pocket) ;24 cm.