Artificial recharge experiments on the Ship Creek alluvial fan, Anchorage, Alaska

Water-Resources Investigations Report 77-38


  • The Publications Warehouse does not have links to digital versions of this publication at this time
  • Open Access Version: External Repository
  • Download citation as: RIS | Dublin Core


During the summers of 1973 and 1974, water from Ship Creek was diverted at an average rate of approximately 6 cubic feet per second to an 11-acre recharge basin. Maximum sustained unit recharge for the basin was approximately 1.4 feet per day. Dur-ing 1975 a second basin of 8 acres was also used for recharge, and the total diversion rate was increased to as much as 30 cubic feet per second. The second basin was never completely filled, but the unit recharge rate was estimated to be at least four times as great as that in the first basin.

During 1973 and 1974, when only one recharge basin was in operation, a maximum rise of 18 feet was observed in the ground-water table near the basin. In 1975, when both basins were being used, the maximum rise was 30 feet in the same area. During 1973 and 1974, the water-level rise was 12 and 8 feet in the unconfined and confined systems, respectively, at a point 4.400 feet downgradient from the basins; in 1975 the rise at the same point was 31 and 16 feet, respectively.

It was originally believed that because of the location of the recharge ponds within the natural recharge zone of the area's confined aquifer system, the source of the major portion of Anchorage's public water supply, most of the artificially recharged water would enter that system. However, water-level data and changes in saturation conditions interpreted from borehole geophysical logs indicate that most of the recharged water remained in the unconfined aquifer. In addition, the potentiometric rise that was achieved in the confined aquifer during summer operation of the recharge basins was quickly dissipated when diversion stopped and the basins drained. Thus the benefits of recharge would not persist into late winter, the critical period of water availability in Anchorage, unless diversion to the basins could be continued until January or February.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Artificial recharge experiments on the Ship Creek alluvial fan, Anchorage, Alaska
Series title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number 77-38
DOI 10.3133/wri7738
Year Published 1977
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Description Report: v, 39 p.; Plate: 16.13 x 18.21 inches
Country United States
State Alaska
City Anchorage