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An update of the Death Valley regional groundwater flow system transient model, Nevada and California

Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5150

Prepared in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration (Interagency Agreement DE–AI52–01NV13944), and Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (Interagency Agreement DE–AI28–02RW12167), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Nye County, Nevada
By:
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https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20165150

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Abstract

Since the original publication of the Death Valley regional groundwater flow system (DVRFS) numerical model in 2004, more information on the regional groundwater flow system in the form of new data and interpretations has been compiled. Cooperators such as the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Energy, and Nye County, Nevada, recognized a need to update the existing regional numerical model to maintain its viability as a groundwater management tool for regional stakeholders. The existing DVRFS numerical flow model was converted to MODFLOW-2005, updated with the latest available data, and recalibrated. Five main data sets were revised: (1) recharge from precipitation varying in time and space, (2) pumping data, (3) water-level observations, (4) an updated regional potentiometric map, and (5) a revision to the digital hydrogeologic framework model.

The resulting DVRFS version 2.0 (v. 2.0) numerical flow model simulates groundwater flow conditions for the Death Valley region from 1913 to 2003 to correspond to the time frame for the most recently published (2008) water-use data. The DVRFS v 2.0 model was calibrated by using the Tikhonov regularization functionality in the parameter estimation and predictive uncertainty software PEST. In order to assess the accuracy of the numerical flow model in simulating regional flow, the fit of simulated to target values (consisting of hydraulic heads and flows, including evapotranspiration and spring discharge, flow across the model boundary, and interbasin flow; the regional water budget; values of parameter estimates; and sensitivities) was evaluated. This evaluation showed that DVRFS v. 2.0 simulates conditions similar to DVRFS v. 1.0. Comparisons of the target values with simulated values also indicate that they match reasonably well and in some cases (boundary flows and discharge) significantly better than in DVRFS v. 1.0.

Suggested Citation

Belcher, W.R., Sweetkind, D.S., Faunt, C.C., Pavelko, M.T., and Hill, M.C., 2017, An update of the Death Valley regional groundwater flow system transient model, Nevada and California: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5150, 74 p., 1 pl. https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20165150

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Hydrogeologic Framework Model and Structure Revisions
  • Hydrologic Data Updates
  • Numerical Model Construction and Revisions .
  • Model Calibration
  • Evaluation of Estimated Parameters
  • Evaluation of Selected Areas
  • Appropriate Uses
  • Model Limitations
  • Summary 
  • References Cited
  • Appendixes 1-3

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
An update of the Death Valley regional groundwater flow system transient model, Nevada and California
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2016-5150
DOI:
10.3133/sir20165150
Year Published:
2017
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
California Water Science Center
Description:
Report: x, 74 p.; Plate: 18 x 26 inches
Country:
United States
State:
California, Nevada
Other Geospatial:
Death Valley regional groundwater flow system
Online Only (Y/N):
Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
Y