This report summarizes a comprehensive study and development of the method documented in Owen-Joyce and others (2000). That report and one for the area upstream from Laguna Dam (Wilson and Owen-Joyce, 1994) document the accounting-surface method to identify wells that yield water that will be replaced by water from the Colorado River.
Downstream from Laguna Dam, the Colorado River is the source for nearly all recharge to the river aquifer. The complex surface-water and ground-water system that exists in the area is, in part, the result of more than 100 years of water-resources development. Agriculture is the principal economy and is possible only with irrigation. The construction and operation of canals provides the means to divert and distribute Colorado River water to irrigate agricultural lands on the flood plains and mesas along the Colorado and Gila Rivers, in Imperial and Coachella Valleys, and in the area upstream from Dome along the Gila River. Water is withdrawn from wells for irrigation, dewatering, and domestic use. The area downstream from Laguna Dam borders additional areas of agricultural development in Mexico where Colorado River water also is diverted for irrigation.