Red River Focus Area Study

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The USGS is undertaking a 3-year study of water use, availability, and change in the Red River basin in one of several national “Focus Area Studies” in the Department of Interior’s WaterSMART initiative . The Red River basin covers more than 93,000 square miles in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana with a population of about 4.3 million people. Water resources in the basin are being stressed by increasing water demands and increasingly severe droughts. A comprehensive water-resource assessment of the basin is needed to enable sustainable water use.

The Red River Focus Area Study (FAS) will compile existing information and add new scientific data and interpretation to facilitate better management of water resources for use by humans and maintenance of water quality and ecological flows in the basin.


Learn More on the Red River FAS Website


The study is organized around four important components that are intended to improve the quality and accessibility of information on water availability for humans and ecosystems in the Red River basin, and to advance technical water assessment capabilities:

Red River

Red River at the Texas-Oklahoma border

Water Use

Refinement and enhancement of water withdrawal estimates to provide a more detailed picture of water use in the basin.

Groundwater Flow Model

Development of a groundwater flow model for the principal alluvial aquifers to quantify groundwater-surface water interactions and likely effects of increased withdrawals from the alluvial aquifers upstream of the Denison Dam on Lake Texoma.

Rainfall-Runoff (Surface Water) Model

Construction of a daily-time step Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) to simulate streamflow and compute daily water balances for each hydrologic response unit within the basin.

Ecological Flows

Summarize available fish community data for portions of the Red River basin in Oklahoma and Texas, and use modeled flow data to link flow alterations to changes in the fish assemblage over time.