Use of models to map potential capture of surface water



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The effects of ground-water withdrawals on surface-water resources and riparian vegetation have become important considerations in water-availability studies. Ground water withdrawn by a well initially comes from storage around the well, but with time can eventually increase inflow to the aquifer and (or) decrease natural outflow from the aquifer. This increased inflow and decreased outflow is referred to as “capture.” For a given time, capture can be expressed as a fraction of withdrawal rate that is accounted for as increased rates of inflow and decreased rates of outflow. The time frames over which capture might occur at different locations commonly are not well understood by resource managers. A ground-water model, however, can be used to map potential capture for areas and times of interest. The maps can help managers visualize the possible timing of capture over large regions. The first step in the procedure to map potential capture is to run a ground-water model in steady-state mode without withdrawals to establish baseline total flow rates at all sources and sinks. The next step is to select a time frame and appropriate withdrawal rate for computing capture. For regional aquifers, time frames of decades to centuries may be appropriate. The model is then run repeatedly in transient mode, each run with one well in a different model cell in an area of interest. Differences in inflow and outflow rates from the baseline conditions for each model run are computed and saved. The differences in individual components are summed and divided by the withdrawal rate to obtain a single capture fraction for each cell. Values are contoured to depict capture fractions for the time of interest. Considerations in carrying out the analysis include use of realistic physical boundaries in the model, understanding the degree of linearity of the model, selection of an appropriate time frame and withdrawal rate, and minimizing error in the global mass balance of the model.

Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Use of models to map potential capture of surface water
Year Published 2006
Language English
Publisher Geological Society of America
Contributing office(s) Arizona Water Science Center
Conference Title 2006 GSA Annual Meeting and Exposition
Conference Location Philadelphia, PA
Conference Date October 22-25, 2006
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N