Ground water is the sole source of water in Indian Wells Valley. Since 1966, annual ground-water pumpage has exceeded estimates of mean annual recharge, and continued and increased stresses on the aquifer system of the valley are expected. In 1981 the U.S. Geological Survey began a 10-year program to develop a data base that could be used in evaluating future water-management alternatives for the valley.
This report tabulates existing water-level and water-quality data in order to provide a basis for the design of a ground-water monitoring network for Indian Wells Valley.
Water-levels were measured in 131 wells during 1977-84. About 62 percent of the wells that have water-level measurements spanning at least 3 years during the period 1977-84 show a net water-level decline; the decline in 23 percent of the wells is greater than 5 feet. Water-quality samples from 85 wells were analyzed for major dissolved constituents. At selected wells water samples were also analyzed for nutrients and trace metals. Seventy-nine of the wells sampled contained water with concentrations of one or more dissolved constituents that equaled or exceeded U.S. Environmental Protection Agency primary or secondary maximum contaminant levels for drinking water. Dissolved-solids concentrations, which ranged from 190 to 67,000 milligrams per liter, equaled or exceeded 500 milligrams per liter (the Environmental Protection Agency secondary maximum contaminant level) in 85 percent of the sampled wells and 1,000 milligrams per liter in 59 percent.
Water samples collected in 1984 from eight wells near the industrial-waste ponds of the China Lake Naval Weapons Center were analyzed for the presence of organic compounds designated 'priority pollutants' by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Priority pollutants were detected in three wells. Trichloroethylene, methylene chloride, vinyl chloride, and chloroform were identified; concentrations were less than 10 micrograms per liter except for trichloroethylene and chloroform, at 94 and 12 micrograms per liter, respectively. Trichloroethylene in one sample and vinyl chloride in another exceeded Environmental Protection Agency proposed maximum contaminant levels.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Ground-Water Data for Indian Wells Valley, Kern, Inyo, and San Bernardino Counties, California, 1977-84