Salt Fork Red River Alluvial Aquifer Study

Science Center Objects

The objectives of this project are to describe the hydrogeology of the Salt Fork Red River alluvial aquifer and to produce numerical groundwater-flow models that can be used to simulate the transient groundwater-flow system. The Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) will use the outcomes from this project to determine the MAY and effects of future water extraction and drought. The geographic scope of the project is the extent of the Salt Fork Red River alluvial aquifer from the Oklahoma-Texas border on the west to the confluence with the Red River on the south.

Salt Fork Red River map
Salt Fork Red River map(Public domain.)

Background

The Salt Fork Red River alluvial aquifer is a 291-square mile system of unconsolidated alluvial and terrace deposits in southwestern Oklahoma. Groundwater from that alluvial aquifer and surface water in the river and tributaries of the river are used for irrigation, municipal, industrial, livestock, and self-supplied domestic and industrial water supplies. Groundwater discharge from the Salt Fork Red River alluvial aquifer sustains streamflow in the river during most of the year, and is relied upon to provide water for municipalities and irrigation in southwestern Oklahoma.

The 1973 Oklahoma Water Law requires the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) to conduct hydrogeologic investigations of the State's aquifers (termed "groundwater basins"), to determine the Maximum Annual Yield (MAY) of fresh water that is permitted to be withdrawn from each groundwater basin, and the amount of water that may be withdrawn from each acre of land overlying a basin. A hydrogeologic study has not been made of the Salt Fork Red River alluvial aquifer, and the MAY has not been determined. Until the determination is made, water users are issued a temporary permit for 2 acre-feet/year per acre.

Salt Fork Red River along HWY 6
Salt Fork Red River along HWY 6(Credit: Grant Graves, U.S. Geological Survey. Public domain.)

Objectives

The objectives of this project are to describe the hydrogeology of the Salt Fork Red River alluvial aquifer and to produce numerical groundwater-flow models that can be used to simulate the transient groundwater-flow system. The Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) will use the outcomes from this project to determine the MAY and effects of future water extraction and drought. The geographic scope of the project is the extent of the Salt Fork Red River alluvial aquifer from the Oklahoma-Texas border on the west to the confluence with the Red River on the south.

Products

A final report for the project is planned for 2018 and will be a USGS Scientific Investigations Report possibly entitled, "Hydrogeology and simulated effects of groundwater withdrawals in the Salt Fork Red River alluvial aquifer, southwestern Oklahoma."