Hydrologic and Geochemical Approaches for Determining Ground-Water Flow Components

by H. W. Hjalmarson, U.S. Geological Survey, Tucson, United States,
F. N. Robertson, U.S. Geological Survey, Tucson, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Irrigation and Drainage


Lyman Lake is an irrigation-storage reservoir on the Little Colorado River near St. Johns, Arizona. The main sources of water for the lake are streamflow in the Little Colorado River and ground-water inflow from the underlying Coconino aquifer. Two approaches, a hydrologic analysis and a geochemical analysis, were used to compute the quantity of ground-water flow to and from Lyman Lake. Hydrologic data used to calculate a water budget were precipitation on the lake, evaporation from the lake, transpiration from dense vegetation, seepage through the dam, streamflow in and out of the lake, and changes in lake storage. Geochemical data used to calculate the ground-water flow components were major ions, trace elements, and the stable isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen. During the study, the potentiometric level of the Coconino aquifer was above the lake level at the upstream end of the lake and below the lake level at the downstream end. Hydrologic and geochemical data indicate that about 10 percent and 8 percent, respectively, of the water in the lake is ground-water inflow and that about 35 percent of the water in the Little Colorado River 6 miles downgradient from the lake near Salado Springs is ground water. These independent estimates of ground-water flow derived from each approach are in agreement and support a conceptual model of the water budget.

Subject Headings: Lakes | Groundwater flow | Rivers and streams | Hydrology | Streamflow | Inflow | Water storage | Hydrologic data | Colorado River | Arizona | United States

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