New Wells Safeguard Scenic Tahoe

by William C. B. Gates, Sr. Hydrogeol. and Mgr.; Water Resour. Engrg. Group, Kleinfelder, Inc., Reno, NV,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1993, Vol. 63, Issue 5, Pg. 60-62

Document Type: Feature article


Surface water for drinking and for snow-making is becoming scarce in the Lake Tahoe region, along the California and Nevada border. New Environmental Protection regulations regarding surface water treatment could be extremely costly for municipalities, utilities and for private developers in this popular tourist area. More wells are being drilled for ground water. Owners are also seeking higher production from existing wells. One firm has used a method called fracture-trace analysis with great success to accomplish both ends. While the method is not new, it has not been used often. Fracture-trace analysis combines aerial photography, verification mapping, and target drilling of intersecting lineaments and fracture systems to locate major water-bearing zones. On the surface, fracture traces express the subsurface rock structure. Using stereoscopic methods of examining aerial photographs in three dimensions, engineers can identify the fractures where ground water collects.

Subject Headings: Hydraulic fracturing | Wells (water) | Surface water | Groundwater | Drilling | Cracking | Aerial photography

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