Operating Criteria and Procedures for Newlands Project irrigation and Public Law 101-618 could result in reductions in surface water used for agriculture in the Carson Desert, potentially affecting ground-water supplies from shallow, intermediate, and basalt aquifers. A near-surface zone could exist at the top of the shallow aquifer near the center and eastern parts of the basin where underlying clay beds inhibit vertical flow and could limit the effects of changes in water use. In the basalt aquifer, water levels have declined about 10 feet from pre-pumping levels, and chloride and arsenic concentrations have increased. Conceptual models of the basin suggest that changes in water use in the western part of the basin would probably affect recharge to the shallow, intermediate, and basalt aquifers. Lining canals and removing land from production could cause water-level declines greater than 10 feet in the shallow aquifer up to 2 miles from lined canals. Removing land from production could cause water levels to decline from 4 to 17 feet, depending on the distribution of specific yield in the basin and the amount of water presently applied to irrigated fields. Where wells pump from a near-surface zone of the shallow aquifer, water level declines might not greatly affect pumping wells where the thickness of the zone is greatest, but could cause wells to go dry where the zone is thin.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Hydrogeology and potential effects of changes in water use, Carson Desert agricultural area, Churchill County, Nevada
Water Supply Paper
U.S. G.P.O. ;
U.S. Geological Survey, Information Services [distributor],
vi, 106 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.; 3 plates in pocket