A quantitative description of the hydrologic system in alluvium and terrace deposits along the Beaver-North Canadian River in northwestern Oklahoma is needed as a aid for planning and management of the aquifer. A two-dimensional finite-difference model was used to describe the aquifer and to predict the effects of future ground-water withdrawals.
The aquifer principally consists of three geologic units: Alluvium with an average thickness of 30 feet, low terrace deposits with an average thickness of 50 feet, and high terrace deposits with an average thickness of 70 feet. A thin cover of dune sand overlies much of the area and provides an excellent catchment for recharge, but is generally unsaturated.
Hydraulic conductivity of the aquifer ranges from 0 to 160 feet per day and average 59 feet per day. Specific yield is estimated to be 0.29. Recharge to the aquifer is approximately 1 inch annually. Under present conditions (1978), most discharge is the result of ground-water flow to the Beaver-North Canadian River at a rate of 36 cubic feet per second and to pumpage for public-supply, industrial, and irrigation use at a rate of 28 cubic feet per second. In 1978, the aquifer had an average saturated thickness of 31 feet and contained 4.07 million acre-feet of water.
The model was used to predict future head response in the aquifer to various pumping stresses. For any one area, the pumping stress was applied until the saturated thickness for that area was less than 5 feet, at which time the pumping ceased.
The results of the modeled projections show that if the aquifer is stressed from 1978 to 1993 at the 1977 pumpage rates and well distribution, the average saturated thickness will decrease 1.0 foot and the volume of water in storage will be 3.94 million acre-feet, or 97 percent of the 1978 volume. If the aquifer is stressed at this same rate until 2020, the average saturated thickness will decrease an additional 0.7 foot and the volume of water in storage will be 3.84 million acre-feet, or 94 percent of the 1978 volume.
If all areas of the aquifer having a 1978 saturated thickness of 5 feet or more are stressed from 1978 to 1993 at a rate of approximately 1.4 acre-feet per acre per year, the average saturated thickness will decrease by 20.9 feet and the volume of water in storage will be 1.28 million acre-feet, or 31 percent of the 1978 volume. If the aquifer is stressed at this same rate until 2020, the average saturated thickness will decrease an additional 2.2 feet and the volume of water in storage will be 980,000 acre-feet, or 24 percent of the 1978 volume.
The water in the aquifer is generally of the calcium bicarbonate type and is suitable for most uses. Most of the 30 water samples analyzed contained less than 500 milligrams of dissolved solids per liter.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Geohydrology and numerical simulation of the alluvium and terrace aquifer along the Beaver-North Canadian River from the Panhandle to Canton Lake, northwestern Oklahoma