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Fact Sheet 2012–3135

Drought and Deluge: Effects of Recent Climate Variability on Groundwater Levels in Eastern Arkansas

By John B. Czarnecki and T.P. Schrader

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (12.6 MB)Abstract

Arkansas experienced wide extremes in climate variability during the period of 2005 to 2010, recording the largest annual precipitation ever recorded in the State (100.05 inches) in 2009. Many weather stations across the State reported between 80 to 90 inches of rainfall in 2009. For comparison, the average annual precipitation in Little Rock, Arkansas, for the period 1878 to 2010 was 47.1 inches. In contrast, 2005 and 2010 were the 7th and 14th driest years on record in Little Rock with 34.55 and 36.52 inches, respectively; both tied as the hottest years ever recorded in Arkansas. The wettest year on record in Little Rock (2009) was interspersed within these dry years, with a total of 81.79 inches. Fifteen weather stations within the State ranked 2009 as the wettest year on record.

Extremes in annual precipitation rates may lead to greater variability in groundwater recharge rates and water use, particularly in the agricultural areas in eastern Arkansas that rely heavily on groundwater produced from the Mississippi River Valley alluvial aquifer (hereafter referred to as the alluvial aquifer). How does this variability affect the groundwater system and water use therein? Are the effects of this variability discernable in measured water levels in wells? Czarnecki and Schrader examined these questions and provided some insights, the results of which are presented here.

First posted February 19, 2013

For additional information contact:
Director, Arkansas Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
401 Hardin Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72211
http://ar.water.usgs.gov/

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Suggested citation:

Czarnecki, J.B., and Schrader, T.P., 2013, Drought and Deluge: Effects of recent climate variability on groundwater levels in eastern Arkansas: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2012–3135, 6 p.



Contents

Water-Level Monitoring Network

Effects of Recent Climate Variability on Groundwater Levels

Water Use and Conservation

Effect of Groundwater Depletion on Water Use

Long- and Short-Term Water-Level Changes: A Case for Continuous Monitoring

Future Water-Level Monitoring

Summary

References Cited


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