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Groundwater Level and Subsidence in the Texas Gulf Coast


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USGA Science in support of groundwater sustainability. Presented by Michael J. Turco, Mark C. Kasmarek, Michaela R. Johnson, and Jason K. Ramage. at the TWCA Fall Conference 2012

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Groundwater Level and Subsidence in the Texas Gulf Coast

  1. 1. Groundwater Level and Subsidence inthe Texas Gulf Coast – USGS Sciencein support of groundwatersustainability By Michael J. Turco, Mark C. Kasmarek, Michaela R. Johnson, and Jason K. Ramage In cooperation with the Harris-Galveston Subsidence District, City of Houston, Fort Bend Subsidence District, Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District , and Brazoria County Groundwater Conservation District T B R E O B U D N F D E X A T S S T IC U B S R ID E ST N CE DI
  2. 2. Who is the USGS?• Mission: The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) serves the Nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.• As the Nations largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the USGS collects, monitors, analyzes, and provides scientific understanding about natural resource conditions, issues, and problems. The diversity of our scientific expertise enables us to carry out large-scale, multi-disciplinary investigations and provide impartial scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers.
  3. 3. GAMEPLAN• Introduction• Groundwater level – Hydrogeology – Summary results of 2011-2012 survey• Subsidence – Clay-compaction and Subsidence – Methods of Measure – Recent subsidence• Modeling• Summary
  4. 4. Study Area
  5. 5. Houston Climate 2011
  6. 6. GROUNDWATER LEVELS• USGS measures water-level in about 800 wells annually• Specific criteria is followed when adding a well to the network; always looking to expand network• Measured data are compared over several temporal ranges on a well by well basis• Three primary water bearing units within the Gulf Coast Aquifer System (Chicot, Evangeline, and Jasper)• Water-levels measured and quality-assured following USGS documented methods• All maps peer-reviewed and published annually
  7. 7. Hydrogeology
  8. 8. 2012 Chicot Aquifer Network
  9. 9. 2011-2012 Chicot Water Level Change
  10. 10. Explanation Decline No Change RiseC.I. 20 ft -100 to 200 1977-2012 Chicot Water Level Change
  11. 11. Hydrogeology
  12. 12. 2012 Evangeline Aquifer Network
  13. 13. 2011-2012 Evangeline Water Level Change
  14. 14. Explanation Decline No Change Rise C.I. 20 & 40 ft -360 to 260 1977-2012 Evangeline Water Level Change
  15. 15. Hydrogeology
  16. 16. 2012 Jasper Aquifer Network
  17. 17. 2011-2012 Jasper Water Level Change
  18. 18. C.I. 20 ft -220 to 0 2000-2012 Jasper Water Level Change
  19. 19. SUBSIDENCE• Subsidence associated with shallow fluid withdrawal in the TX Gulf Coast Region has been studied by USGS and others since the ~1950s• Goose Creek Oil Field first documented case (Pratt and Johnson, 1926)• USGS has estimated that about 15 feet of subsidence has occurred along the Houston Ship Channel since 1917
  20. 20. Clay Compaction
  21. 21. How do you measure subsidence?• Borehole extensometer – Modified deep well used in Houston, California, China, Mexico• 1st order leveling – Reoccupy benchmarks from Waco to Galveston• PAM-GPS network – Sub-cm accuracy at established benchmarks reoccupied periodically over time• Historical LIDAR comparisons – Comparison of recent LIDAR data and historical topography• InSAR – Satellite based method of detecting subtle land-surface change over large areas
  22. 22. SIM Sheet 15Borehole Extensometer Locations, Texas, USA
  23. 23. Extensometer
  24. 24. Harris County Liberty County Chambers CountyFort Bend County Brazoria County Galveston County Updip Extensometer Data
  25. 25. Harris County Liberty County Chambers County Fort Bend County Galveston County Brazoria CountySIM Sheet 16 Pasadena and Clear Lake Extensometer Data
  26. 26. Estimated Subsidence 1915-2001
  27. 27. PAM-GPS Land Surface Elevation Change
  28. 28. Recent Subsidence Estimated using PAM-GPS Data
  29. 29. PAM-GPS Horizontal and Vertical Velocity field
  30. 30. Estimated Subsidence usingInSAR analysis and PAM-GPS Data
  31. 31. Estimating future subsidence• Requires substantial historical information• PRESS Models – developed by FUGRO Inc. to predict subsidence based detailed local hydrogeologic data and predicted changes in water level• MODFLOW Model – developed by USGS; multiple evolutions over the last 25+years; simulates water- level and subsidence regionally
  32. 32. Estimating Future subsidence
  33. 33. Summary• Groundwater data collected today, although maybe used for an immediate resource need, become more valuable as time moves on. Without data today, the ability to evaluate the effects of changing water use, regulatory strategies, or new water sources is greatly diminished.• A long history of collaboration and data collection as resulted in a robust data set used by multiple agencies to manage the groundwater resource and minimize subsidence in the Houston area.• Subsidence monitoring as evolved over the last 35 years, multiple approaches to evaluating past and current subsidence has yielded a strong data set used to calibrate models that can then predict future subsidence based estimated water needs and aquifer response.
  34. 34. Water Use and Water Availability – USGS Science in support ofgroundwater sustainability with case study in Houston, Texas, USA QUESTIONS? CONTACT: USGS Texas Water Science Center Gulf Coast Program Office The Woodlands, Texas Ph: 936-271-5300