The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma and Bureau of Indian Affairs, assessed four groundwater-withdrawal scenarios and their potential effects on the Rush Springs aquifer in and near the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma Tribal jurisdictional area in western Oklahoma. Increases in industrial and public water supply needs have led to increased development of water resources within the Rush Springs aquifer. As new areas within the aquifer are developed, increased water withdrawals may result in decreases in available groundwater resources and conflicts among water users.
For this study, a previously published numerical groundwater-flow model of the Rush Springs aquifer was modified to simulate the potential effects of four groundwater withdrawal scenarios. For the previously published calibrated model, groundwater flow was simulated from 1979 through 2015. In this study, groundwater flow simulations were extended through 2035. The period from 2016 through 2035 is referred to as the “20-year projection.” Four groundwater withdrawal scenarios starting in 2007 and continuing through 2035 were evaluated. Scenario 1 simulated no groundwater withdrawals; scenario 2 simulated no withdrawals allocated for out-of-basin water-use transfers; scenario 3 simulated withdrawals based on reported withdrawals during the 2007–15 simulation period and compounded annual increases in groundwater use during the subsequent 20-year projection; and scenario 4 simulated maximum permitted withdrawals for allocation to out-of-basin water-use transfers. Out-of-basin water transfers were classified as withdrawals that are not returned back to the aquifer.
At the springs of interest, changes in water-level altitudes in response to different groundwater withdrawal scenarios were simulated by comparing the results from different model cells. Between 2007 and 2015, scenarios 2–4 yielded similar simulated water-level altitudes in the model cells containing springs of interest, with water-level altitudes decreasing to below the land surface altitude at 13 of the total 25 springs of interest, whereas under scenario 1 there were only two model cells containing springs of interest where the simulated water-level altitudes of a spring decreased to below land surface altitude. For the 20-year projection, water-level altitudes at springs simulated in model cells in scenarios 2–4 decreased to below land surface altitude for 13 of the total 25 model cells containing springs of interest, whereas under scenario 1 there were only two model cells containing springs of interest where the simulated water-level altitudes of a spring decreased to below land surface altitude.
The potential effects of groundwater withdrawals were evaluated by comparing changes in groundwater storage between the four scenarios. The 2007–15 groundwater withdrawal scenarios were used to simulate the potential effects of groundwater withdrawal rates on groundwater storage of the Rush Springs aquifer. The simulated groundwater storage change in the Rush Springs aquifer ranged from an increase of 2.8 percent for scenario 1 to an increase of 1.0 percent for scenario 4. Projected 20-year groundwater withdrawal scenarios were used to simulate the potential effects of selected groundwater withdrawal rates on groundwater storage of the Rush Springs aquifer. Simulated groundwater storage changes ranged from a decrease of 0.5 percent for scenario 1 to a decrease of 0.7 percent for scenario 4.
|Title||Potential effects of out-of-basin groundwater transfers on spring discharge, base flow, and groundwater storage pertaining to the Rush Springs aquifer in and near the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma Tribal jurisdictional area, western Oklahoma|
|Authors||Laura G. Labriola, Cory A. Russell, John H. Ellis|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Scientific Investigations Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Oklahoma-Texas Water Science Center|