Four recharge tests were conducted by injecting water from playa lakes through wells into the Ogallala Formation. Injection was by gravity flow and by pumping under pressure. At one site, 34-acre feet of water was injected by gravity and produced a significant increase in yield of the well. At a second site, gravity injection of only 0.58 acre-foot caused a significant decrease in permeability due to plugging by suspended sediment. At two other sites, injection by pumping 6 and 14 acre-feet respectively, resulted in discharge of water at the surface and in perching of water above the water table. Differences in success of recharge were largely due to aquifer lithology and, therefore, the type of permeability; the concentration of suspended solids in the recharge water; and the injection technique.
The injection technique can be controlled and the concentration of suspended solids can be minimized by treatment, but the site for well recharge will accept water most rapidly if it is selected on the basis of a favorable geohydrologic environment. Geophysical logs were used to study the effect of aquifer lithology on recharge and to understand the movement of injected water. Temperature logs were particularly useful in tracing the movement of recharged water. Natural-gamma, gamma-gamma, and neutron logs provided important data on lithology and porosity in the aquifer and changes in porosity and water distribution resulting from recharge. Effective recharge of the Ogallala Formation, using water from playa lakes, is possible where geohydrologic conditions are favorable and the recharge system is properly constructed.
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USGS Numbered Series
Effects of artificial recharge on the Ogallala aquifer, Texas