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Groundwater and surface-water data from the C-aquifer monitoring program, Northeastern Arizona, 2012–2019

July 14, 2021

The Coconino aquifer (C aquifer) is a regionally extensive multiple-aquifer system supplying water for municipal, agricultural, and industrial use in northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and southeastern Utah. This report focuses on the C aquifer in the arid to semi-arid area between St. Johns, Ariz., and Flagstaff, Ariz., along the Interstate-40 corridor where an increase in groundwater withdrawals coupled with ongoing drought conditions increase the potential for substantial water-level decline within the aquifer.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) C-aquifer Monitoring Program began in 2005 to establish baseline groundwater and surface-water conditions and to quantify physical and water-chemistry responses to pumping stresses and climate. This report presents data previously reported in Brown and Macy (2012) that extend back as far as the 1950s, along with new data collected from the USGS C-aquifer Monitoring Program since that publication, from water years 2012 to 2019.

Water levels in 17 wells are measured quarterly as part of the C-aquifer Monitoring Program, and five of those are continuously monitored at 15-minute intervals. Water levels in an additional 18 wells in the study area are measured periodically by the USGS or other agencies. The largest historical change in water level in the study area was a decrease of 81.20 feet in Lake Mary 1 Well near Flagstaff between 1962 and 2018. Changes in water levels were greatest around major pumping centers and in the eastern extent of the study area.

Surface-water water-quality parameters (pH, water temperature, specific conductance, and dissolved oxygen) and streamflow discharge measurements were collected and analyzed along perennial, groundwater-fed reaches of Clear Creek, Chevelon Creek, and the Little Colorado River during nine baseflow investigations of varying extent between 2005 and 2019. Both Clear Creek and Chevelon Creek gain in flow from the beginning of their perennial reaches to their outflow into the Little Colorado River. The Little Colorado River has relatively steady streamflow in the reach between where the two tributaries enter the river. Chevelon Creek showed an increase in median specific conductance during all baseflow investigations of nearly 4,000 microsiemens per centimeter (μS/cm) from near the headwaters to the confluence with the Little Colorado River; Clear Creek also showed an increase in median specific conductance of almost 5,000 μS/cm from headwaters to confluence. Water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH do not show substantial trends along the reaches of Clear Creek, Chevelon Creek, or the Little Colorado River.

Publication Year 2021
Title Groundwater and surface-water data from the C-aquifer monitoring program, Northeastern Arizona, 2012–2019
DOI 10.3133/ofr20211051
Authors Casey J.R. Jones, Michael J. Robinson
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2021-1051
Index ID ofr20211051
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Arizona Water Science Center