Shallow and Surfacing Ground Water in an Arid Urban Environment

by D. L. Smith, (M.ASCE),
J. C. Guitjens, (M.ASCE),

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water


Return flow from landscape irrigation is now a major recharge source and the loss of phreatophytic vegetation has caused decreased evapotranspiration discharge in Henderson, Nevada. Lateral flow is restricted by relatively fine grained soil stratigraphy, cemented soils, compaction faults, and a shallow water table gradient. A stratum of poorer quality ground water has developed and water has risen to ground surface in some locations. This shallow ground water strata is geochemically characterized by enriched 18O and ²H isotopes, elevated tritium levels (29 to 42 pCi/L), nitrate concentrations up to 129 mg/L, and TDS concentrations ranging from 3,000 mg/L to in excess of 12,000 mg/L As a result of evapoconcentration and leaching of salts from near-surface soils, dominant ions in the upper strata are sulfate, chloride and sodium.

Subject Headings: Groundwater recharge | Groundwater flow | Arid lands | Municipal water | Urban areas | Compacted soils | Soil water | Soil cement | Nevada | United States

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