Hydrogeology of Picacho Basin, south-central Arizona

Water-Resources Investigations Report 2000-4277
By: , and 



The hydrogeology of Picacho Basin was studied to define the stratigraphy, basin structure, physical and hydraulic properties of the basin sediments, and predevelopment and postdevelopment conditions of ground-water flow as of 1985. The study area includes about 900 square miles and contains a sedimentfilled asymmetric graben. The greatest sediment thickness occurs along the east margin of the graben. Basin sediments contain the principal water-bearing units and are separated into lower, middle, and upper units. The lower unit is several thousand feet thick and contains a conglomerate facies and a playa facies that contains a thick evaporite sequence. The middle and upper units contain alluvial and playa facies that are as much as 1,500 feet thick. Ground water occurs in lower and upper aquifer systems separated by a middle confining unit that comprises the playa facies of the three units. Hydraulic properties and compressibility of the middle and upper units are much greater than those of the lower unit. Vertical-head gradients exist, and vertical flow occurs within and between the aquifer systems.

Early development of surface-water supplies resulted in increased recharge through deep percolation of irrigation water. Later development of the ground-water supplies resulted in extensive water-level declines, changes in the direction of ground-water flow, removal of water from storage, aquifer compaction, land subsidence, and earth fissures. Dewatering of pore spaces in the upper unit has been the primary source of water; however, as much as 80 percent of the water derived from storage in the Eloy area has resulted from compaction of pore spaces.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Hydrogeology of Picacho Basin, south-central Arizona
Series title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number 2000-4277
DOI 10.3133/wri004277
Year Published 2001
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Tucson, AZ
Description vi, 65 p.
Country United States
State Arizona
Other Geospatial Picacho Basin
Scale 500000
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details