Groundwater Quality of the Lucerne Valley Groundwater Basin, California

Open-File Report 2022-1063
Prepared in cooperation with the Mojave Water Agency



Anthropogenic activities, including groundwater withdrawals, return flow from irrigated agriculture, and treated wastewater-effluent disposal have the potential to affect groundwater quality in the Lucerne Valley groundwater basin, located in the southwest Mojave Desert. Questions regarding the current state and potential future of groundwater quality in this basin were addressed by (1) considering groundwater data from and findings of historical water-quality studies, (2) evaluating recent (1990–2021) U.S. Geological Survey water-quality and geochemical-tracer data, and (3) assessing groundwater-quality results from samples collected in 2021 to better understand the transport of applied treated wastewater effluent in the subsurface and associated effects of this practice on water quality. As observed by previous studies, differences in groundwater quality existed among the upper, middle, and lower aquifers of the Lucerne Valley groundwater basin, with the lower aquifer characterized by high dissolved-solid content relative to the middle and upper aquifers. Stable and radioisotope tracers indicate that most of the groundwater sampled in the basin was recharged during cooler, wetter climate conditions than those of the present day (2022). Analyses of the 2021 samples collected to examine the subsurface transport of applied treated wastewater effluent were not conclusive but indicate that water from applied treated wastewater effluent is currently (2022) limited to the upper aquifer and likely to remain so given the extensive confining unit below the upper aquifer.

Suggested Citation

Fackrell, J.K., 2022, Groundwater quality of the Lucerne Valley groundwater basin, California: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2022-1063, 19 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments 
  • Abstract 
  • Introduction 
  • Approach
  • Results and Discussion 
  • Summary 
  • References Cited 
  • Appendix 1. Water-Quality Sample Information 
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Groundwater quality of the Lucerne Valley groundwater basin, California
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2022-1063
DOI 10.3133/ofr20221063
Year Published 2022
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) California Water Science Center
Description viii, 19 p.
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial Lucerne Valley Groundwater Basin
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details