RFG 2018 Conference

water availability

Interactive map of groundwater monitoring information in the United States

The National Ground-Water Monitoring Network compiles information from over 7,000 groundwater monitoring wells across the country, including Federal, State, and local groundwater monitoring networks. Although the image above only shows the contiguous United States, the interactive map also includes wells from Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Water as One Resource

This course provides an overview of how groundwater and surface water interact, what the implications of these interactions on water resources are, and how water can be more effectively managed if an understanding of these interactions is incorporated.

Desalination as a Source of Fresh Water

Fresh water is an increasingly scarce resource in an increasingly populous and water-intensive world. Maintaining an adequate supply of fresh water both nationally and globally will be one of the largest challenges of the 21st century. Desalination of salty water – from both the ocean and the ground – represents a huge potential source of fresh water. The development of this resource requires a combination of geoscience, engineering, waste management, policy, and community outreach and participation.

Equus Beds Groundwater Management District No. 2 Sustainability Assessment

The objective of this study was to assess the prospects for sustainability of the portions of the High Plains aquifer (HPA) in the Equus Beds Groundwater Management District No. 2 (GMD2) in south-central Kansas. For the purposes of this report, sustainability is defined as being achieved when spatially averaged water levels are stable with time, i.e. the average annual water-level change over an area is zero for a period of several years. Given the temporal variability in annual precipitation and groundwater use, there will be year-to-year rises and falls in spatially averaged water levels across GMD2. However, those changes will average out to zero over a period of several years if the aquifer is being pumped at a sustainable level. The specific purpose of this study was to determine the average annual water use that would produce stable areally averaged water levels over a given area.

High Plains Aquifer Index Well Program: 2016 Annual Report

This report provides a description of conditions as of late winter 2017. The report consists of (a) an update of the hydrographs for all of the index wells and for the expansion wells in the vicinity of the Scott and Thomas index wells (one well near the Scott index well and three wells in the vicinity of the Thomas index well); (b) an interpretation of the hydrographs from all of the index wells; (c) a discussion of the installation of the new index well in GMD4; (d) an update and interpretation of the hydrographs of the expansion wells in the vicinity of the Haskell index well; and (e) a discussion of climatic indices and radar precipitation data and their relationship to annual water-level changes at six of the wells and to water use in the vicinity of those wells.

2016 Critical Issues Forum: Addressing Changes in Regional Groundwater Resources: Lessons from the High Plains Aquifer

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Groundwater is often a "transboundary" resource, shared by many groups of people across town, county, state, and international boundaries. Changes in groundwater resources can create unique challenges requiring high levels of cooperation and innovation amongst stakeholder groups, from individuals to state and federal government.

The High Plains Aquifer (HPA), which spans eight states from South Dakota to Texas, is overlain by about 20 percent of the nation’s irrigated agricultural land, and provides about 30 percent of the groundwater used for irrigation in the country according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Work by the Kansas Geological Survey indicates that some parts of the aquifer are already effectively exhausted for agricultural purposes; some parts are estimated to have a lifespan of less than 25 years; and other areas remain generally unaffected (Buchanan et al., 2015).

The 2016 Critical Issues Forum was a 1-½ day meeting covering multiple aspects of groundwater depletion in the High Plains. Presentations covered the current state of the High Plains Aquifer and water usage from scientific, legal, regulatory, economic, and social perspectives. State-specific perspectives were provided from Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, and Oklahoma, and a variety of issues were discussed surrounding communication, negotiation, policy, and the influence of climate change. Break-out sessions and participant discussions identified lessons learned and best practices from the High Plains Aquifer experience that might apply to other regions facing changes in the Earth system.

The Forum was hosted by the Payne Institute for Earth Resources at the Colorado School of Mines, and sponsored by the Geological Society of America, the National Ground Water Association, the American Institute of Professional Geologists, the National Association of State Boards of Geology, and the Association of American State Geologists.

For more information about the Forum, including the final report, please visit the 2016 Critical Issues Forum home page.

2016 Forum: Selected Footage

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