Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Ground-water hydrology of northern Napa Valley, California

January 1, 1994

The alluvium of northern Napa Valley is the principal aquifer of the area and is capable of yielding as much as 3,000 gallons per minute to wells. Generally the larger-yielding wells are along the Napa River where the alluvium is thickest and most permeable. Recharge to the alluvium is chiefly by percolation from streams and infiltration of precipitation. Discharge is chiefly flow to the Napa River, evapotranspiration, and pumpage from wells. Both recharge to, and discharge from, the alluvial aquifer are sensitively influenced by rainfall. About 190,000 acre-feet of water is presently (1972) stored in the alluvium of northern Napa Valley. Future annual water use in the project area will probably vary between 12,000 and 35,000 acre-feet and, for most purposes, can be supplied by the alluvial aquifer even during extended periods of limited rainfall. Generally low transmissivities in the alluvium, however, limit the opportunity for obtaining sustained, large yields from wells in much of the valley and require that large-scale development and operation of wells in much of the area be planned and synchronized.

Sustained drought conditions in the Napa Valley accompanied by expected increases in the use of ground water will probably cause significant reductions in the base flow of the Napa River and cause many shallow wells in the area to dry up.

Sodium chloride ground water occurs near Calistoga and in the vicinity of Oakville and in some places is not suitable for irrigation. Model studies indicate that limited migration of sodium chloride water into intensively pumped parts of the aquifer probably will not be a serious problem.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1973
Title Ground-water hydrology of northern Napa Valley, California
DOI 10.3133/wri7313
Authors Robert E. Faye
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series Number 73-13
Index ID wri7313
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization