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Simulation of streamflow and estimation of recharge to the Edwards aquifer in the Hondo Creek, Verde Creek, and San Geronimo Creek watersheds, south-central Texas, 1951-2003

Scientific Investigations Report 2005-5252

Prepared in cooperation with the San Antonio Water System
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Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the San Antonio Water System, constructed three watershed models using the Hydrological Simulation Program—FORTRAN (HSPF) to simulate streamflow and estimate recharge to the Edwards aquifer in the Hondo Creek, Verde Creek, and San Geronimo Creek watersheds in south-central Texas. The three models were calibrated and tested with available data collected during 1992–2003. Simulations of streamflow and recharge were done for 1951–2003. The approach to construct the models was to first calibrate the Hondo Creek model (with an hourly time step) using 1992–99 data and test the model using 2000–2003 data. The Hondo Creek model parameters then were applied to the Verde Creek and San Geronimo Creek watersheds to construct the Verde Creek and San Geronimo Creek models. The simulated streamflows for Hondo Creek are considered acceptable. Annual, monthly, and daily simulated streamflows adequately match measured values, but simulated hourly streamflows do not. The accuracy of streamflow simulations for Verde Creek is uncertain. For San Geronimo Creek, the match of measured and simulated annual and monthly streamflows is acceptable (or nearly so); but for daily and hourly streamflows, the calibration is relatively poor. Simulated average annual total streamflow for 1951–2003 to Hondo Creek, Verde Creek, and San Geronimo Creek is 45,400; 32,400; and 11,100 acre-feet, respectively. Simulated average annual streamflow at the respective watershed outlets is 13,000; 16,200; and 6,920 acre-feet. The difference between total streamflow and streamflow at the watershed outlet is streamflow lost to channel infiltration. Estimated average annual Edwards aquifer recharge for Hondo Creek, Verde Creek, and San Geronimo Creek watersheds for 1951–2003 is 37,900 acrefeet (5.04 inches), 26,000 acre-feet (3.36 inches), and 5,940 acre-feet (1.97 inches), respectively. Most of the recharge (about 77 percent for the three watersheds together) occurs as streamflow channel infiltration. Diffuse recharge (direct infiltration of rainfall to the aquifer) accounts for the remaining 23 percent of recharge. For the Hondo Creek watershed, the HSPF recharge estimates for 1992–2003 averaged about 22 percent less than those estimated by the Puente method, a method the U.S. Geological Survey has used to compute annual recharge to the Edwards aquifer since 1978. HSPF recharge estimates for the Verde Creek watershed average about 40 percent less than those estimated by the Puente method.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Simulation of streamflow and estimation of recharge to the Edwards aquifer in the Hondo Creek, Verde Creek, and San Geronimo Creek watersheds, south-central Texas, 1951-2003
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2005-5252
Year Published:
2005
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s):
Texas Water Science Center
Description:
iv, 37 p.
Country:
United States
State:
Texas
Other Geospatial:
Hondo Creek watershed, San Geronimo Creek watershed, Verde Creek watershed
Online Only (Y/N):
Y