This investigation was undertaken to describe the geohydrology of the alluvial and terrace deposits along the North Canadian River between Lake Overholser and Eufaula Lake, an area of about 1,835 square miles, and to determine the maximum annual yield of ground water.
A 1982 water-level map of the alluvial and terrace aquifer was prepared using field data and published records. Data from test holes and other data from the files of the U.S. Geological Survey and the Oklahoma Water Resources Board were used to establish the approximate thickness of the alluvial and terrace deposits.
The North Canadian River from Lake Overholser, near Oklahoma City, to Eufaula Lake is paralleled by a 2- to 3-mile wide band of alluvium. Scattered terrace deposits on either side of the alluvium reach an extreme width of 8 miles. Rocks of Permian age bound the alluvial and terrace deposits from the west to the midpoint of the study area; Pennsylvanian rocks bound the alluvial and terrace deposits from that point eastward.
Three major aquifers are present in the study area: the alluvial and terrace aquifer, consisting of alluvium and terrace deposits of Quaternary age in a narrow band on either side of the North Canadian River; the Garber-Wellington aquifer of Permian age, consisting of an upper unconfined zone and a lower confined zone separated by relatively impermeable shales; and the Ada-Vamoosa aquifer of Pennsylvanian age. At locations were the alluvial and terrace aquifer overlies either of the other aquifers, there is hydraulic continuity between the alluvial and terrace aquifer and the other aquifers, and water levels are the same.
Most large-scale municipal and industrial pumping from the Garber-Wellington aquifer is from the lower zone and has little discernible effect upon the alluvial and terrace aquifer.
The total estimated base flow of the North Canadian River for the studied reach is 264 cubic feet per second. Evapotranspiration from the basin in August is about 60 cubic feet per second for the North Canadian River from Lake Overholser to a measuring station above Eufaula Lake. Estimated recharge rates to the alluvial and terrace aquifer in the basin range from 1.7 inches at the west edge of the study area to 7.0 inches at the east edge.
Total permitted withdrawal from the aquifer, according to records of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, ranged from 2,107 acre-feet per year in 1942 to about 21,415 acre-feet per year in 1982.
Simulations of the alluvial and terrace aquifer from Lake Overholser to Eufaula Lake were made using a finite-difference model developed by McDonald and Harbaugh (1984). The area of the aquifers was subdivided into a finite-difference grid having 30 rows and 57 columns with cells measuring 1 mile in the north-south direction and 2 miles in the east-west direction. The model was calibrated in two steps: A steady-state calibration simulated head distribution prior to extensive pumping of the aquifer in 1942, and a transient calibration simulated head distribution after extensive pumpage. The final horizontal hydraulic conductivity used for the alluvial and terrace aquifer was 0.0036 feet per second (310 feet per day) at all locations. The recharge rate for the alluvial and terrace aquifer ranged from 1.7 inch per year in the west to 7.0 inches per year in the east, and averaged about 3.3 inches per year. A specific yield of 15 percent was used for the transient simulation.
Permitted pumpage for 1942 through 1982 was used in the digital model to estimate the annual volume of water in storage in the alluvial and terrace aquifer for the years for this time period. The 1982 permitted pumpage rates were used for projections for 1983 to 2020. The estimated volume of water in storage was 1,940,000 acre-feet in 1982. Because the estimated recharge rate is equal to the allowed pumpage rate in 1982, the projected volume of water in storage in both 1993 and 2020 was 1,890,000 acre-feet.