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Spatial and seasonal variability of base flow in the Verde Valley, central Arizona, 2007 and 2011

September 26, 2012

Synoptic base-flow surveys were conducted on streams in the Verde Valley, central Arizona, in June 2007 and February 2011 by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Verde River Basin Partnership, the Town of Clarkdale, and Yavapai County. These surveys, also known as seepage runs, measured streamflow under base-flow conditions at many locations over a short period of time. Surveys were conducted on a segment of the Verde River that flows through the Verde Valley, between USGS streamflow-gaging stations 09504000 and 09506000, a distance of 51 river miles. Data from the surveys were used to investigate the dominant controls on Verde River base flow, spatial variability in gaining and losing reaches, and the effects that human alterations have on base flow in the surface-water system. The most prominent human alterations in the Verde Valley are dozens of surface-water diversions from streams, including gravity-fed ditch diversions along the Verde River.Base flow that entered the Verde River from the tributary streams of Oak Creek, Beaver Creek, and West Clear Creek was found to be a major source of base flow in the Verde River. Groundwater discharge directly into the Verde River near these three confluences also was an important contributor of base flow to the Verde River, particularly near the confluence with Beaver Creek. An examination of individual reaches of the Verde River in the Verde Valley found three reaches (largely unaffected by ditch diversions) exhibiting a similar pattern: a small net groundwater discharge in February 2011 (12 cubic feet per second or less) and a small net streamflow loss in June 2007 (11 cubic feet per second or less). Two reaches heavily affected by ditch diversions were difficult to interpret because of the large number of confounding human factors. Possible lower and upper bounds of net groundwater flux were calculated for all reaches, including those heavily affected by ditches.

Publication Year 2012
Title Spatial and seasonal variability of base flow in the Verde Valley, central Arizona, 2007 and 2011
DOI 10.3133/sir20125192
Authors Bradley D. Garner, Donald J. Bills
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2012-5192
Index ID sir20125192
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Arizona Water Science Center