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Ground-water recharge and consumptive-irrigation requirements in the Great Plains and adjacent areas largely depend upon an environment extrinsic to the ground-water system. This extrinsic environment, which includes climate, soils, and vegetation, determines the water demands of evapotranspiration, the availability of soil water to meet these demands, and the quantity of soil water remaining for potential ground-water recharge after these demands are met. The geographic extent of the Great Plains contributes to large regional differences among all elements composing the extrinsic environment, particularly the climatic factors. A soil-water simulation program, SWASP, which synthesizes selected climatic, soil, and vegetation factors, was used to simulate the regional soil-water conditions during 1951-80. The output from SWASP consists of several soil-water characteristics, including surface runoff, infiltration, consumptive water requirements, actual evapotranspiration, potential recharge or deep percolation under various conditions, consumptive irrigation requirements, and net fluxes from the ground-water system under irrigated conditions. Simulation results indicate that regional patterns of potential recharge, consumptive irrigation requirements, and net fluxes from the ground-water system under irrigated conditions are largely determined by evapotranspiration and precipitation. The local effects of soils and vegetation on potential recharge cause potential recharge to vary by more than 50 percent in some areas having similar climatic conditions.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Simulation and analysis of soil-water conditions in the Great Plains and adjacent areas, central United States, 1951-80
Water Supply Paper
U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ;
Branch of Information Services,