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Title: Importance of river water recharge to the San Joaquin Valley groundwater system

Abstract

Groundwater is not a sustainable resource, unless abstraction is balanced by recharge. Identifying the sources of recharge in a groundwater basin is critical for sustainable groundwater management. In this paper, we studied the importance of river water recharge to groundwater in the south-eastern San Joaquin Valley (24,000 km 2, population 4 million). We combined dissolved noble gas concentrations, stable isotopes, tritium, and carbon-14 analyses to analyse the sources, mechanisms, and timescales of groundwater recharge. Area-representative groundwater sampling and numerical model input data enabled a stable isotope mass balance and quantitative estimates of river and local recharge. River recharge, identified by a lighter stable isotope signature, represents 47 ± 4% of modern groundwater in the San Joaquin Valley (recharged after 1950) but only 26 ± 4% of premodern groundwater (recharged before 1950). This implies that the importance of river water recharge in the San Joaquin valley has nearly doubled and is likely the result of a 40% increase in total recharge, caused by river water irrigation return flows and increased stream depletion and river recharge due to groundwater pumping. Compared with the large and long-duration capacity for water storage in the subsurface, storage of water in rivers is limited in timemore » and volume, as evidenced by cold river recharge temperatures resulting from fast infiltration and recharge. Finally, groundwater banking of seasonal surface water flows and expansion of managed aquifer recharge practices therefore appear to be a natural and promising method for increasing the resilience of the San Joaquin Valley water supply system.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [1];  [1]
  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division
  2. California State Univ. (CalState), Hayward, CA (United States). Dept. of Earth & Environmental Sciences
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE; LLNL Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program; California State Water Boards (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
1458687
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1432559
Report Number(s):
LLNL-JRNL-735797
Journal ID: ISSN 0885-6087; 888241; TRN: US1901507
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC52-07NA27344
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Hydrological Processes
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 32; Journal Issue: 9; Journal ID: ISSN 0885-6087
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Visser, Ate, Moran, Jean E., Singleton, Michael J., and Esser, Bradley K. Importance of river water recharge to the San Joaquin Valley groundwater system. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1002/hyp.11468.
Visser, Ate, Moran, Jean E., Singleton, Michael J., & Esser, Bradley K. Importance of river water recharge to the San Joaquin Valley groundwater system. United States. doi:10.1002/hyp.11468.
Visser, Ate, Moran, Jean E., Singleton, Michael J., and Esser, Bradley K. Thu . "Importance of river water recharge to the San Joaquin Valley groundwater system". United States. doi:10.1002/hyp.11468. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1458687.
@article{osti_1458687,
title = {Importance of river water recharge to the San Joaquin Valley groundwater system},
author = {Visser, Ate and Moran, Jean E. and Singleton, Michael J. and Esser, Bradley K.},
abstractNote = {Groundwater is not a sustainable resource, unless abstraction is balanced by recharge. Identifying the sources of recharge in a groundwater basin is critical for sustainable groundwater management. In this paper, we studied the importance of river water recharge to groundwater in the south-eastern San Joaquin Valley (24,000 km2, population 4 million). We combined dissolved noble gas concentrations, stable isotopes, tritium, and carbon-14 analyses to analyse the sources, mechanisms, and timescales of groundwater recharge. Area-representative groundwater sampling and numerical model input data enabled a stable isotope mass balance and quantitative estimates of river and local recharge. River recharge, identified by a lighter stable isotope signature, represents 47 ± 4% of modern groundwater in the San Joaquin Valley (recharged after 1950) but only 26 ± 4% of premodern groundwater (recharged before 1950). This implies that the importance of river water recharge in the San Joaquin valley has nearly doubled and is likely the result of a 40% increase in total recharge, caused by river water irrigation return flows and increased stream depletion and river recharge due to groundwater pumping. Compared with the large and long-duration capacity for water storage in the subsurface, storage of water in rivers is limited in time and volume, as evidenced by cold river recharge temperatures resulting from fast infiltration and recharge. Finally, groundwater banking of seasonal surface water flows and expansion of managed aquifer recharge practices therefore appear to be a natural and promising method for increasing the resilience of the San Joaquin Valley water supply system.},
doi = {10.1002/hyp.11468},
journal = {Hydrological Processes},
issn = {0885-6087},
number = 9,
volume = 32,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {2}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Figures / Tables:

Figure 1 Figure 1: Nine river basins (shaded colors) draining the Sierra Nevada flow into the San Joaquin Valley groundwater basin (shaded grey). Inflow locations identified with filled points. Inset map shows location of study area and California in the continental US.

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