We compared streamflow in basins under the combined impacts of an upland dam and groundwater pumping withdrawals, by examining streamflow in the presence and absence of each impact. As a qualitative analysis, inter-watersbed streamflow comparisons were performed for several rivers flowing into the east side of the Central Valley, CA. Results suggest that, in the absence of upland dams supporting large reservoirs, some reaches of these rivers might develop ephemeral streamflow in late summer. As a quantitative analysis, we conducted a series of streamflow/ groundwater simulations (using MODFLOW-2000 plus the streamflow routing package, SFR1) for a representative hypothetical watershed, with an upland dam and groundwater pumping in the downstream basin, under humid, semi-arid, and and conditions. As a result of including the impact of groundwater pumping, post-dam removal simulated streamflow was significantly less than natural streamflow. The model predicts extensive ephemeral conditions in the basin during September for both the arid and semi-arid cases. The model predicts continued perennial conditions in the humid case, but spatially weighted, average streamflow of only 71% of natural September streamflow, as a result of continued pumping after dam removal.
Additional publication details
Influence of groundwater pumping on streamflow restoration following upstream dam removal