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Hydrogeologic characterization of the Yucaipa groundwater subbasin

February 10, 2022


Water management in the Santa Ana River watershed in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties in southern California (fig. A1) is complex with various water purveyors navigating geographic, geologic, hydrologic, and political challenges to provide a reliable water supply to stakeholders. As the population has increased throughout southern California, so has the demand for water. The Yucaipa groundwater subbasin (hereafter referred to as “Yucaipa subbasin”), one of nine groundwater subbasins in what the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) refers to as the Upper Santa Ana Valley groundwater basin (California Department of Water Resources, 2016; fig. A1; the DWR naming convention is used within this report), is no exception; steady population growth since the 1940s and changes in water use have forced local water purveyors to regularly adapt their water infrastructure. Water demands within the Yucaipa subbasin have historically been supplied by groundwater, but water imported via the California State Water Project has augmented the total water supply through direct use and through anthropogenic recharge at the Wilson Creek and Oak Glen Creek spreading basins since 2002. Overall demand for groundwater continues to rise, and local water managers are concerned that despite the influx of imported water, groundwater levels may decline to a point where producing water will be uneconomical, severely limiting the ability of local agencies to meet water-supply demand.

To better understand the hydrogeology and water resources in the Yucaipa subbasin, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) initiated a study in cooperation with the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District (SBVMWD) to characterize and model the hydrologic system of the Yucaipa subbasin and the surrounding Yucaipa Valley watershed (YVW; fig. A2). To gain this comprehensive understanding, a three-dimensional (3D) hydrogeologic framework model (HFM; Cromwell and Matti, 2022) was constructed to quantify the structure and extent of hydrogeologic units in the YVW; the hydrologic system was conceptualized and quantified (described in chapter A); and the Yucaipa Integrated Hydrological Model (YIHM; described in chapter B) was developed to simulate the integrated surface-water and aquifer systems, including natural and anthropogenic recharge and discharge throughout the study area during 1947–2014.

Publication Year 2022
Title Hydrogeologic characterization of the Yucaipa groundwater subbasin
DOI 10.3133/sir20215118A
Authors Geoffrey Cromwell, John A. Engott, Ayman H. Alzraiee, Christina Stamos-Pfeiffer, Gregory Mendez, Meghan C. Dick, Sandra Bond
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2021-5118
Index ID sir20215118A
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization California Water Science Center