The Des Moines River alluvial aquifer is an important source of water for Des Moines Water Works, the municipal water utility that provides residential and commercial water resources to the residents of Des Moines, Iowa, and surrounding municipalities. As an initial step in developing a better understanding of the groundwater resources of the Des Moines River alluvial aquifer, the U.S. Geological Survey constructed a steady-state numerical groundwater flow model in cooperation with Des Moines Water Works to simulate water-table elevations in the Des Moines River alluvial aquifer near Prospect Park in Des Moines under winter low-flow conditions.
A simple conceptual model consisting of a hydrogeologic framework, water budget, and inferred water-table elevation map was developed for the model area. The inferred water-table elevation map was constructed based on general knowledge of hydrogeology within the model area and was used to set calibration targets for numerical model calibration. A steady-state numerical model was constructed based on the conceptual model using MODFLOW-NWT to simulate an area of about 15 square kilometers near Prospect Park in Des Moines. Parameter ESTimation software was used for model calibration to assess and optimize performance of the horizontal hydraulic conductivity and recharge parameters. The numerical groundwater flow model and supporting data are available in the USGS data release associated with this report, which contains the model archive.
Performance of the calibrated steady-state model was assessed by comparing observed and simulated water-table elevations, as well as estimated and simulated contributions to streamflow within the model area. The difference between observed water-table elevations and simulated water-table elevations was −0.1 meter at the majority of calibration targets, with the negative value indicating an overestimation of the simulated water-table elevation value compared to the observed water-table elevation value, and the root mean square error was 0.13 meter, which represents about 20 percent of the difference in observed water-table elevations. The simulated value of contributions to streamflow within the model area was considered similar to the estimated value, increasing confidence in the ability of the model to accurately represent the groundwater flow system in the Des Moines River alluvial aquifer in the model area during winter low-flow conditions.
|Title||A steady-state groundwater flow model for the Des Moines River alluvial aquifer near Prospect Park, Des Moines, Iowa|
|Authors||Kendall M. FitzGerald, Wonsook S. Ha, Adel E. Haj, Lance R. Gruhn, Emilia L. Bristow, Jared R. Weber|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Open-File Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Iowa Water Science Center; Central Midwest Water Science Center|