The water needs of the Mojave River basin will increase because of population and industrial growth. The Mojave Water Agency is responsible for providing sufficient water of good quality for the full economic development of the area. The U.S. Geological Survey suggested an electric analog model of the basin as a predictive tool to aid management.
About 1,375 square miles of the alluvial basin was simulated by a passive resistor-capacitor network. The Mojave River, the main source of recharge, was simulated by subdividing the river into 13 reaches, depending on intermittent or perennial flow and on phreatophytes. The water loss to the aquifer was based on records at five gaging stations. The aquifer system depends on river recharge to maintain the water table as most of the ground-water pumping and development is adjacent to the river.
The accuracy and reliability of the model was assessed by comparing the water-level changes computed by the model for the period 1930-63 with the changes determined from field data for the same period.
The model was used to predict the effects on the physical system by determining basin-wide water-level changes from 1930-2000 under different pumping rates and extremes in flow of the Mojave River. Future pumping was based on the 1960-63 rate, on an increase of 20 percent from this rate, and on population projections to 2000 in the Barstow area. For future predictions, the Mojave River was modeled as average flow based on 1931-65 records and also as high flow, 1937-46, and low flow, 1947-65.
Other model runs included water-level change 1930-63 assuming aquifer depletion only and no recharge, effects of a well field pumping 10,000 acre-feet in 4 months north of Victorville and southeast of Yermo, and effects of importing 10,000, 35,000, and 50,800 acre-feet of water per year from the California Water Project into the Mojave River for conveyance downstream.