skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: California GAMA Special Study: Importance of River Water Recharge to Selected Groundwater Basins

River recharge represents 63%, 86% and 46% of modern groundwater in the Mojave Desert, Owens Valley, and San Joaquin Valley, respectively. In pre-modern groundwater, river recharge represents a lower fraction: 36%, 46%, and 24% respectively. The importance of river water recharge in the San Joaquin valley has nearly doubled and is likely the result of a total increase of recharge of 40%, caused by river water irrigation return flows. This emphasizes the importance of recharge of river water via irrigation for renewal of groundwater resources. Mountain front recharge and local precipitation contribute to recharge of desert groundwater basins in part as the result of geological features focusing scarce precipitation promoting infiltration. River water recharges groundwater systems under lower temperatures and with larger water table fluctuations than local precipitation recharge. Surface storage is limited in time and volume, as evidenced by cold river recharge temperatures resulting from fast recharge, compared to the large capacity for subsurface storage. Groundwater banking of seasonal surface water flows therefore appears to be a natural and promising method for increasing the resilience of water supply systems. The distinct isotopic and noble gas signatures of river water recharge, compared to local precipitation recharge, reflecting the source andmore » mechanism of recharge, are valuable constraints for numerical flow models.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
  2. California State Univ. East Bay (CalState), Hayward, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States