Estimating Upland Recharge in the Yucca Mountain Area

by Leonard J. Lane, Denver Federal Cent, Denver, United States,
Waite R. Osterkamp, Denver Federal Cent, Denver, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Irrigation and Drainage


Field and modeling studies were conducted recently for the Fortymile Canyon watershed and the Rock Valley area near the site of the proposed high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. These investigations strongly suggest that groundwater recharge is occurring in upland areas by water percolating below the plant rooting depth. The CREAMS hydrologic model was used to compute a water balance on upland areas in Rock Valley, NV, a site located about 100 km northwest of Las Vegas and about 60 km southeast of Yucca Mountain. Computed recharge amounts are related to precipitation frequency and spatial variability in saturated hydraulic conductivity in the plant root zone. Accurate estimates of rates and amounts of upland and stream channel recharge are needed to accurately model the groundwater flow. If validated by further field measurements, then the procedures used can provide recharge estimates; and thus, source term estimates, for 2- and 3-dimensional groundwater flow modeling used to characterize the Yucca Mountain site.

Subject Headings: Groundwater flow | Field tests | Model accuracy | Radioactive wastes | Water resources | Rocks | Vegetation | Computer models | Las Vegas | Nevada | United States

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