Exploring Connections Between Groundwater Storage And Management Settings Using Observations From Groundwater Wells And Grace Data In Arizona
Presenter: Danielle Tadych1
Advisor(s): Dr. Laura E. Condon
1Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona
Surface water and groundwater are deeply connected in Arizona through both natural exchanges and human systems. As surface water is a scarce and heavily regulated resource in the state, groundwater is the primary source of water, especially during periods of drought. Although there are clear short-term economic benefits to using groundwater, increased demand stemming from development pressure, persistent drought, and limited or non-existent historical regulation has resulted in the over- pumping of aquifers. Currently Arizona is divided into active management areas with regulated groundwater pumping and unregulated groundwater pumping in the greater portion of the state. The impact of the different management frameworks and water availability in these areas during drought is still unclear, particularly in unregulated regions. For this study we use groundwater wells and remotely sensed groundwater data to explore the relationships between water drilling depths, water levels, groundwater storage, and relative access to surface water. We divided the state into different groundwater management settings – (1) State regulated regions where groundwater permits and withdrawals are limited by the state, and (2) Unregulated groundwater use regions. Regions were further divided based on land use and groundwater basin boundaries, which were ranked based on historical surface water use. Datasets from the Arizona Department of Water Resources Wells55 database, GWSI database, and CSR-GRACE Mascons are used in this study. Understanding the impact of different groundwater regulatory frameworks and surface availability in this arid region could help policymakers better manage groundwater in light of the Colorado River shortage.