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Water-level and recoverable water in storage changes, High Plains aquifer, predevelopment to 2015 and 2013–15

June 1, 2017

The High Plains aquifer underlies 111.8 million acres (about 175,000 square miles) in parts of eight States—Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. Water-level declines began in parts of the High Plains aquifer soon after the beginning of substantial irrigation with groundwater in the aquifer area (about 1950). This report presents water-level changes and change in recoverable water in storage in the High Plains aquifer from predevelopment (about 1950) to 2015 and from 2013 to 2015.

The methods to calculate area-weighted, average water-level changes; change in recoverable water in storage; and total recoverable water in storage used geospatial data layers organized as rasters with a cell size of 500 meters by 500 meters, which is an area of about 62 acres. Raster datasets of water-level changes are provided for other uses.

Water-level changes from predevelopment to 2015, by well, ranged from a rise of 84 feet to a decline of 234 feet. Water-level changes from 2013 to 2015, by well, ranged from a rise of 24 feet to a decline of 33 feet. The area-weighted, average water-level changes in the aquifer were an overall decline of 15.8 feet from predevelopment to 2015 and a decline of 0.6 feet from 2013 to 2015. Total recoverable water in storage in the aquifer in 2015 was about 2.91 billion acre-feet, which was a decline of about 273.2 million acre-feet since predevelopment and a decline of 10.7 million acre-feet from 2013 to 2015.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2017
Title Water-level and recoverable water in storage changes, High Plains aquifer, predevelopment to 2015 and 2013–15
DOI 10.3133/sir20175040
Authors Virginia L. McGuire
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2017-5040
Index ID sir20175040
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Nebraska Water Science Center