High Plains Groundwater Availability Study
Description of Study
The objective of the U.S. Geological Survey Groundwater Availability Study is three fold: 1) quantify the current groundwater resources of the priority aquifer; 2) evaluate how these resources have changed over time, and 3) provide tools to forecast aquifer responses to stresses from future human and environmental uses. The High Plains (fig. 1) Groundwater Availability Study began in 2009.
Water availability is a function of many factors, including the quantity and quality of water and the laws, regulations, economics, and environmental factors that control its use. The focus of the High Plains Groundwater Availability Study is on improving fundamental knowledge of the water balance of the basin, including the flows, storage, and water use by humans and the environment. An improved quantitative understanding of the basin's water balance not only provides key information about water quantity but also is a fundamental basis for many analyses of water quality and ecosystem health.
A new groundwater-flow model for the northern High Plains aquifer (fig. 2) will be developed and used as a tool to understand how the aquifer responses to the continuing and in some cases growing demands on the groundwater resources in the northern High Plains aquifer. Additionally, through the collection of existing information a water budget will be developed for the entire aquifer.
Figure 1. Location of the
High Plains Aquifer
Figure 2. Northern High