During 1989-90, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Harris-Galveston Coastal Subsidence District, conducted a field study to determine the depth to the water table and to estimate the rate of recharge in outcrops of the Chicot and Evangeline aquifers near Houston, Texas. The study area (fig. 1) comprises about 2,000 square miles of outcrops of the Chicot and Evangeline aquifers in northwestern Harris County, Montgomery County, and southern Walker County. The depth to the water table was estimated using seismic refraction, and an estimated rate of recharge in the aquifer outcrops was computed using the tritium-interface method (Andres and Egger, 1985) in which environmental tritium is the ground-water tracer. The water table generally ranges in depth between 10 and 30 feet in the study area, and the average total recharge rate was estimated to be not larger than 6 inches per year. The rate is total recharge to the saturated zone, rather than net recharge to the deep regional flow system. The total recharge can be reduced by evapotranspiration and by local discharge, mainly to streams. These results are published in USGS Water-Resources Investigations Report 96-4018 (Noble and others, 1996).
A second study of environmental tritium in the same area as the 1989-90 study, also in cooperation with the Harris-Galveston Coastal Subsidence District, was done in 1996 to confirm the results of the original study. This fact sheet documents the estimation of an upper limit on the average total recharge rate on the basis of the vertical movement of tritium in ground water during 1953-89 and during 1953-95.
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USGS Numbered Series
Estimated rate of recharge in outcrops of the Chicot and Evangeline aquifers near Houston, Texas