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Ground-water hydrology of the Lower Milliken-Sarco-Tulucay Creeks area, Napa County, California

January 1, 1994

The Sonoma Volcanics are the principal water-bearing materials in the lower Milliken-Sarco-Tulucay Creeks area, which occupies about 15 square miles (39 square kilometers) in and east of Napa, Calif. The distribution and composition of these volcanic units are highly variable and complex. Within the Sonoma Volcanics the tuffs constitute the best ground-water reservoir. They are principally pumicitic ash-flow tuffs, partly welded and moderately permeable. These tuffs extend to a depth exceeding 500 feet (150 meters), and are irregularly interbedded with clay, igneous flows, and other volcanically derived material of very low permeability which locally confine the tuffs. Recharge and movement of ground water within these tuffs are affected by the highly variable character of this rock sequence, by adjacent formations, and by tectonic features such as the Cup and Saucer ridge and the Soda Creek fault. The lithology of the area limits specific yields to about 4 percent (unconfined conditions). Specific capacities of wells average less than 3 gallons per minute per foot of drawdown (0.6 liter per second per meter) except in the most permeable areas.

Annual pumpage of 3,000 acre-feet (3.7 cubic hectometers), mostly from the Sonoma tuffs, represents a significant portion of the ground-water discharge. The seasonal change in ground-water storage was about 6,600 acre-feet (8.1 cubic hectometers) in 1975. Water-level data from the area reflect the seasonal change in ground-water storage, with fluctuations of 3 to 60 feet (1 to 18 meters). The storage capacity to a depth of 500 feet (150 meters) may be as much as 196,000 acre-feet (242 cubic hectometers) in the study area, but physical and economic factors may restrict the usable capacity to about 20,000 acre-feet (25 cubic hectometers).

Recharge within the area is generally inadequate to marginal under 1975 demand. There is insufficient recharge in the Milliken and Sarco Creeks area to support 1975 pumpage. Long-term changes in the seasonal peak water levels indicate an average decline of 1.5 feet per year (0.5 meter per year). By 1975 annual pumpage was not exceeding recharge in the Tulucay Creek area. Although a downward trend in water levels was noted in the western part of this basin in the late 1940's, the pumping distribution and its stress on the ground-water system have since changed, and no overall downward trend was evident in the Tulucay Creek area in 1975.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1977
Title Ground-water hydrology of the Lower Milliken-Sarco-Tulucay Creeks area, Napa County, California
DOI 10.3133/wri7782
Authors Michael J. Johnson
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series Number 77-82
Index ID wri7782
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization