The Salt River Valley is a major agricultural and metropolitan area in semiarid south-central Arizona. Groundwater in the permeable sedimentary deposits underlying the area is a major water supply for agricultural, municipal, and industrial users. Groundwater levels have declined as much as 400 ft in recent years. Management of the remaining groundwater resources and their protection from contamination will require knowledge of the hydrogeologic framework and the water-bearing characteristics of the sedimentary units in the groundwater system. The rocks in the eastern part of the Salt River Valley are divided into six units--crystalline rocks, extrusive rocks, red units, lower unit, middle unit, and upper unit. The crystalline and extrusive rocks underlie the basin and form virtually impermeable hydrologic boundaries. The red, lower, middle and upper sedimentary units contain most of the groundwater. The red unit contains usable quantities of ground water, principally near Scottsdale, where it yields as much as 1 ,000 gallons/min (gpm) of water to wells. The lower unit, which makes up the largest volume of sedimentary deposits, consists mostly of mudstone, clay, silt, and evaporite deposits that may be as much as 10,000 ft thick in the central part of the basin. Wells tapping the mudstone, clay, silt yield 50 (gpm) or less but the conglomerate and the sand and gravel may yield as much as 3,500 gpm. The middle unit is the principal water-bearing unit in the basin and consists mostly of silt, siltstone, and silty sand and gravel. The unit is as much as 1,000 ft thick in the central part of the basin and as much as 700 ft is saturated. The unit will yield as much as 1,000 gpm where the saturated thickness is at least 500 ft. Locally, north of Mesa, the unit yields as much as 4,000 gpm. The upper unit is gravel, sand, and silt and is saturated only in a small area in the southwestern part of the basin. Where saturated, the unit may yield as much as 4,500 gpm. The upper unit transmits recharge derived from sheet flow, from flood flow in ephemeral streams, and from irrigation to the water table. (Author 's abstract)
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Hydrogeology of the eastern part of the Salt River Valley area, Maricopa and Pinal Counties, Arizona
Water-Resources Investigations Report
8 maps on 4 sheets ; sheets 97 x 86 cm. and smaller, folded in envelope 32 x 25 cm.