Ground-water conditions in Pecos County, Texas, 1987

Water-Resources Investigations Report 92-4190

Prepared in cooperation with the City of Fort Stockton, Texas



A comparison of 1987 water levels with historical (1940-49) water levels in the Edwards-Trinity (Plateau) aquifer indicated that water levels declined more than 50 feet in three locations in the Leon-Belding irrigation area, in an area north of Fort Stockton, and in a well east of Bakersfield. Maximum measured declines were 54 and 82 feet in the Leon-Belding irrigation area. The maximum measured rise was 55 feet in one well in east-central Pecos County.

The chemical quality of water in the Edwards-Trinity aquifer of Pecos County varied greatly during 1987. Most wells in the eastern, southern, and southwestern parts of the county had water with a specific conductance of 1,000 μS/cm (microsiemens per centimeter at 25 °C) or less. Three areas that had anomalously large specific conductances in ground water in north-central Pecos County are associated with water issuing from Santa Rosa, Diamond Y, and Comanche Springs. Specific conductance in water from wells and springs ranged from 311 μS/cm in south-central Pecos County to 9,600 μS/cm in the north. Dissolved sulfate concentrations ranged from 17 to 2,300 mg/L (milligrams per liter), and dissolved chloride concentrations ranged from 12 to 1,400 mg/L. Dissolved-solids concentrations ranged from 251 to 5,580 mg/L. Total nitrite plus nitrate concentrations (considered to be all nitrate for this report) ranged from less than 0.1 to 8.9 mg/L. Chemical water types range from calcium bicarbonate to calcium sulfate to sodium chloride.

Historical (1940-49) and 1987 dissolved-solids concentrations were compared to identify potential changes in water quality. In some local areas, dissolved-solids concentrations decreased as much as 1,630 mg/L. The increase in dissolved-solids concentrations in water from wells and springs ranged from 5 to 4,894 mg/L. Maximum increases in dissolved-solids concentrations were 3,290 mg/L in water from Comanche Springs and 4,894 mg/L in water from Santa Rosa Springs. The increases may represent a mixing of Edwards-Trinity water with moderately saline water from underlying rocks of Permian age, or an accumulation of salts from surface-water sources.

Comanche Springs, dry since 1961, began flowing again in October 1986, following several weeks of record or near-record precipitation in Fort Stockton and the Trans-Pecos region. Accelerated recharge from the increased precipitation, combined with a cessation of irrigation pumpage in August 1986, probably were responsible. The springs ceased flowing in May 1987, following the start of irrigation pumpage in February 1987. Correlation between flow from Comanche Springs and water levels in Fort Stockton city well no. 2 in the Leon-Belding irrigation area indicates that the springs are unlikely to flow when the depth to water in this well exceeds about 232 feet.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Ground-water conditions in Pecos County, Texas, 1987
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Austin, TX
Contributing office(s):
Texas Water Science Center
v, 63 p.
United States
Pecos County
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