Page 1
Texas Water Conservation Association
70th Annual Convention
The Importance of
Groundwater/Surface Water Interaction...
Page 2
Groundwater vs Surface Water in Texas
Surface water belongs to the state of Texas. It can be used
by a landowner on...
Page 3
A Case Study on Rio Grande Water Supplies:
Devils River Basin, Texas
Page 4
Groundwater Recharge of the Lower Rio Grande
What is groundwater’s importance to the Lower Rio Grande?
Conveyance o...
Page 5
Amistad Reservoir Water Budget
Lake
Amistad
Devils
River
Pecos
River
Rio Grande at Langtry
San Felipe
Creek
Rio Gra...
Page 6
Amistad Reservoir Water Budget (acre-ft/yr)
Lake
Amistad
Devils
River
263,000
Pecos
River
195,000
Rio Grande at Lan...
Page 7
How is Water Conveyed through the
Devil’s River Watershed?
Sutton County - Standen A. and P. Kirby, 2009
Crockett C...
Page 8
Where are the
High Capacity Wells in the
Devils River Watershed?
TWDB well driller reports: 752
wells with measured...
Page 9
0
500
1,000
1,500
2,000
2,500
3,000
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
WellPumpRate(gpm)
Distance from Closest River Channel (mi...
Page 10
Development of Karst Conduits in
Edwards-Trinity Aquifer
Slightly acidic rain water funneled into existing river c...
Page 11
Refined Characterization of Devils River
Watershed Hydrogeology
Water is conveyed through Devils
River watershed a...
Page 12
How is Groundwater Flow Currently Characterized?
Page 13
Permeability Structure of the
Edwards-Trinity Aquifer
Page 14
Refinement of Hydrogeology of
Devils River Watershed
Mapped geology of
Devils River watershed
TWDB GAM of
Devils R...
Page 15
Reclassification of Groundwater Conveyance in
the Devils River Watershed
If groundwater conveyance in the Devils R...
Page 16
What Are the Consequences if Devils River Watershed
Groundwater is Governed by the Rule of Capture?
Page 17
Amistad Reservoir Water Budget
Lake
Amistad
Devils
River
Pecos
River
Rio Grande at Langtry
San Felipe
Creek
Rio Gr...
Page 18
Amistad Reservoir Water Budget (acre-ft/yr)
Lake
Amistad
Devils
River
263,000
Pecos
River
195,000
Rio Grande at La...
Page 19
Experience of Historical Groundwater Exploitation
Page 20
Amistad Reservoir Water-Budget
Analysis (acre-ft/yr)
Groundwater Discharge
Amistad Reservoir
(1961-1967)
Pecos Riv...
Page 21
Amistad Reservoir Water Budget (acre-ft/yr)
(1961-2000)
Lake
Amistad
Devils
River
263,000
Pecos
River
195,000
Rio ...
Page 22
Lake
Amistad
Devils
River
263,000
Pecos
River
195,000
-?
32,000
Rio Grande at Langtry
1,071,000
San Felipe
Creek
6...
Page 23
Potential Impact of Pumping on
Amistad Reservoir Water Budget (acre-ft/yr)
from Three Proposed Projects
150,000 ac...
Page 24
Potential Impact of Pumping on
Amistad Reservoir Water Budget (acre-ft/yr)
from Three Proposed Projects
Lake
Amist...
Page 25
Recharge/groundwater/surface water are intrinsically linked in a
watershed that recharges Amistad Reservoir
Convey...
Page 26
Acknowledgement
Funding for water resource assessment of
Devils River watershed provided by the
Coypu Foundation
Page 27
Contact Information
Ronald T. Green, Ph.D., P.G.
Institute Scientist
Geosciences and Engineering Division
Southwes...
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The importance of groundwater surface water interaction - a case study on Rio Grande water supplies

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Presented by Ronald T. Green, Ph.D., P.G., F. Paul Bertetti, P.G., and Marques Miller
at the Texas Water Conservation Association Conference in The Woodlands, Texas - March 2014

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The importance of groundwater surface water interaction - a case study on Rio Grande water supplies

  1. 1. Page 1 Texas Water Conservation Association 70th Annual Convention The Importance of Groundwater/Surface Water Interaction: A Case Study on Rio Grande Water Supplies March 6, 2014 by Ronald T. Green, Ph.D., P.G., F. Paul Bertetti, P.G., and Marques Miller Geosciences and Engineering Division Southwest Research Institute®
  2. 2. Page 2 Groundwater vs Surface Water in Texas Surface water belongs to the state of Texas. It can be used by a landowner only with the state's permission. Generally, groundwater belongs to the landowner. Groundwater is governed by the rule of capture. There are exceptions… "Underground water" means the water existing below the earth's surface, …does not include defined subterranean streams or the underflow of rivers (Texas Water Code)
  3. 3. Page 3 A Case Study on Rio Grande Water Supplies: Devils River Basin, Texas
  4. 4. Page 4 Groundwater Recharge of the Lower Rio Grande What is groundwater’s importance to the Lower Rio Grande? Conveyance of groundwater/surface water in Devils River watershed Importance of permeability architecture in Devils River to Rio Grande
  5. 5. Page 5 Amistad Reservoir Water Budget Lake Amistad Devils River Pecos River Rio Grande at Langtry San Felipe Creek Rio Grande below Amistad Dam Cienegas Creek Gauging Station Goodenough Spring
  6. 6. Page 6 Amistad Reservoir Water Budget (acre-ft/yr) Lake Amistad Devils River 263,000 Pecos River 195,000 Rio Grande at Langtry 1,071,000 San Felipe Creek 65,000 Rio Grande below Amistad Dam 1,659,000 Rio Grande at Del Rio 1,659,000 Cienegas Creek 8,700 Gauging Station Goodenough Spring 103,000 Lower Rio Grande gets 1/3 of its water from Val Verde County
  7. 7. Page 7 How is Water Conveyed through the Devil’s River Watershed? Sutton County - Standen A. and P. Kirby, 2009 Crockett County - Inglehart, H.H. 1967 Val Verde County - Reeves, R.D. and T.A. Small. 1973.
  8. 8. Page 8 Where are the High Capacity Wells in the Devils River Watershed? TWDB well driller reports: 752 wells with measured capacity High capacity water wells are only located near river channels
  9. 9. Page 9 0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 WellPumpRate(gpm) Distance from Closest River Channel (mi) Distance from River Channel versus Well Capacity Virtually all wells with capacity of 500 gpm are within 1.5 miles of a river
  10. 10. Page 10 Development of Karst Conduits in Edwards-Trinity Aquifer Slightly acidic rain water funneled into existing river channels as the Edwards Plateau was raised. This mechanism resulted in development of preferential flow paths (i.e., conduits) in river channels. In contrast, conduit development in the Edwards Aquifer was pervasive because it was not exhumed (raised) similar to the Edwards Plateau. Woodruff and Abbott, 1979, 1986 What this means is that you cannot assume you have high capacity wells everywhere in the Edwards-Trinity Aquifer just because you happen to have a high-capacity well that’s near a river channel
  11. 11. Page 11 Refined Characterization of Devils River Watershed Hydrogeology Water is conveyed through Devils River watershed as both groundwater (particularly in the upper reaches) and as surface water (in the lower reaches). Texas water law struggles with groundwater/surface water relationship, but reality insists it be recognized. Dye tracer tests in Sonora confirm the presence of conduits in Devils River channel
  12. 12. Page 12 How is Groundwater Flow Currently Characterized?
  13. 13. Page 13 Permeability Structure of the Edwards-Trinity Aquifer
  14. 14. Page 14 Refinement of Hydrogeology of Devils River Watershed Mapped geology of Devils River watershed TWDB GAM of Devils River watershed hydrogeology Refined characterization of Devils River watershed hydrogeology The 2010 TWDB Groundwater Availability Model (GAM) does not characterize groundwater flow associated with the river channels as subterranean streams or river underflow
  15. 15. Page 15 Reclassification of Groundwater Conveyance in the Devils River Watershed If groundwater conveyance in the Devils River watershed is classified as “subterranean streams or the underflow of rivers”, then groundwater conveyance could be governed as surface water and not by the rule of capture.
  16. 16. Page 16 What Are the Consequences if Devils River Watershed Groundwater is Governed by the Rule of Capture?
  17. 17. Page 17 Amistad Reservoir Water Budget Lake Amistad Devils River Pecos River Rio Grande at Langtry San Felipe Creek Rio Grande below Amistad Dam Rio Grande at Del Rio Cienegas Creek Gauging Station Goodenough Spring
  18. 18. Page 18 Amistad Reservoir Water Budget (acre-ft/yr) Lake Amistad Devils River 263,000 Pecos River 195,000 Rio Grande at Langtry 1,071,000 San Felipe Creek 65,000 Rio Grande below Amistad Dam 1,659,000 Rio Grande at Del Rio 1,659,000 Cienegas Creek 8,700 Gauging Station Goodenough Spring 103,000
  19. 19. Page 19 Experience of Historical Groundwater Exploitation
  20. 20. Page 20 Amistad Reservoir Water-Budget Analysis (acre-ft/yr) Groundwater Discharge Amistad Reservoir (1961-1967) Pecos River 32,000 Goodenough Spring 89,000 Devils River 240,000 San Felipe Springs 58,000 Minor springs on the Rio Grande 2,000 Unmeasured springs on the Rio Grande 81,000 Total 502,000 Reeves, R.D. and T.A. Small. 1973. Groundwater Resources of Val Verde County, Texas. Report 172. Texas Water Development Board. Groundwater Discharge Amistad Reservoir (1961-2000) Pecos River 194,000 Goodenough Spring 103,000 Devils River 264,000 San Felipe Springs 65,000 Cienegas Creek 8,700 Unmeasured springs Rio Grande - Total 634,000 Data from IBWC website 1961-2000
  21. 21. Page 21 Amistad Reservoir Water Budget (acre-ft/yr) (1961-2000) Lake Amistad Devils River 263,000 Pecos River 195,000 Rio Grande at Langtry 1,071,000 San Felipe Creek 65,000 Rio Grande below Amistad Dam 1,659,000 Rio Grande at Del Rio 1,659,000 Cienegas Creek 8,700 Gauging Station Goodenough Spring 103,000
  22. 22. Page 22 Lake Amistad Devils River 263,000 Pecos River 195,000 -? 32,000 Rio Grande at Langtry 1,071,000 San Felipe Creek 65,000 Rio Grande below Amistad Dam 1,659,000 1,496,000 Rio Grande at Del Rio 1,659,000 1,496,000 Cienegas Creek 8,700 Historical Impact of Pumping on Amistad Reservoir Water Budget (acre-ft/yr) Pecos River Discharge (1961-1967) Gauging Station Goodenough Spring 103,000
  23. 23. Page 23 Potential Impact of Pumping on Amistad Reservoir Water Budget (acre-ft/yr) from Three Proposed Projects 150,000 acre-ft/yr 49,000 acre-ft/yr 93,826 acre-ft/yr
  24. 24. Page 24 Potential Impact of Pumping on Amistad Reservoir Water Budget (acre-ft/yr) from Three Proposed Projects Lake Amistad Devils River 263,000 -150,000 83,000 Pecos River 195,000 -49,000 146,000 Rio Grande at Langtry 1,071,000 San Felipe Creek 65,000 Rio Grande below Amistad Dam 1,659,000 1,460,000 Rio Grande at Del Rio 1,659,000 1,460,000 Cienegas Creek 8,700 Gauging Station Goodenough Spring 103,000 Sycamore Creek -93,826 ? 1,460,000 1,366,000
  25. 25. Page 25 Recharge/groundwater/surface water are intrinsically linked in a watershed that recharges Amistad Reservoir Conveyance of water through Devils River watershed is facilitated by development of conduits coincident with river channels Other Edwards Plateau watersheds show similar characteristics Can this conduit system be defined as subterranean streams or the underflow of rivers? This presentation provides a clear example of how a technical study can be used to frame regulatory governance of a water resource Summary
  26. 26. Page 26 Acknowledgement Funding for water resource assessment of Devils River watershed provided by the Coypu Foundation
  27. 27. Page 27 Contact Information Ronald T. Green, Ph.D., P.G. Institute Scientist Geosciences and Engineering Division Southwest Research Institute 6220 Culebra San Antonio, Texas 78238 1.210.522.5305 (office) 1.210.522.5184 (fax) 1.210.316.9242 (cell) rgreen@swri.edu

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