Statistical Relationships Between Groundwater, Economic, And Climatic Variables In Southeastern Arizona

Presenter: Mekha Pereira1
Co-Author(s): -
Advisor(s): Dr. Laura Condon and Dr. Bonnie Colby
1Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona

Panapto Presentation Video
Poster PDF
Poster Session 2

Hydrologic, climatic, and economic factors interact in complex ways to influence groundwater conditions. Knowledge of the factors most strongly related to groundwater use and levels in a basin can help water managers develop targeted strategies to incentivize desired water use outcomes. Existing studies exploring economic drivers of groundwater use focus on large-scale irrigated agriculture. Responsiveness of groundwater use to external influences in rural areas is not well understood, generally due to lack of data. The Santa Cruz Active Management Area (AMA) and Upper San Pedro subbasins present unique opportunities to investigate rural, groundwater-dependent areas. Both areas have greater data availability than is present in most of rural Arizona, due to state mandated metering and reporting requirements within the Santa Cruz AMA and due to special environmental and legal interests within the Upper San Pedro. In this study, we take advantage of similar physical and economic settings but contrasting regulatory frameworks in these two regions to perform a paired basin study. We perform statistical analysis on basin-wide drivers on an annual scale. Through this analysis we explore three main questions: 1) Do we observe responsiveness of groundwater use/levels to climatic and economic influences, 2) Do the drivers of groundwater use/levels change in areas with and without groundwater regulation, and 3) Which groundwater metrics are most appropriate to use for such correlations on an annual time scale? A suite of regression models will be evaluated to determine correlations between a selected groundwater metric (groundwater withdrawal volume, depth to water, or change in depth to water) and various climatic (temperature, precipitation) and economic factors (new well installations, crop acreage, crop price, energy price, population, housing starts, income, developed area acreage) as explanatory variables. Findings can inform long-term water resource planning in these rural basins, where water users may be responding to different drivers of groundwater use than have been established in more developed areas.

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