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U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012–1206

Prepared in cooperation with the City of Sierra Vista

Evaluation of Simulations to Understand Effects of Groundwater Development and Artificial Recharge on Surface Water and Riparian Vegetation, Sierra Vista Subwatershed, Upper San Pedro Basin, Arizona

By Stanley A. Leake and Bruce Gungle

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (2.2 MB)Abstract

In 2007, the U.S. Geological Survey documented a five-layer groundwater flow model of the Sierra Vista and Sonoran subwatersheds of the Upper San Pedro Basin. The model has been applied by a private consultant to evaluate the effects of projected groundwater pumping through 2105 and effects of artificial recharge at three near-stream sites for 2012–2111. The main concern regarding simulations of long-term groundwater pumping is the effect of artificial model boundaries on modeled response, particularly for pumping near Cananea, Sonora, Mexico, which is adjacent to an artificial no-flow boundary. Concerns regarding the simulations of the effects of artificial recharge near streams include the resolution of the model and the representation of the model properties at the site scale; a possible limited ability of the model to correctly apportion recharge response between increased streamflow and increased evapotranspiration; a limited ability of the model to simulate detailed geometries of artificial recharge areas and evapotranspiration areas; and stream locations with the 820-foot grid spacing of the basin-scale model. In spite of these concerns, use of the U.S. Geological Survey five-layer groundwater flow model by the consultant are reasonable and valid.

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For additional information contact:
Office information, Arizona Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
520 N. Park Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85719

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Suggested citation:

Leake, S.A., and Gungle, Bruce, 2012, Evaluation of simulations to understand effects of groundwater development and artificial recharge on the surface water and riparian vegetation Sierra Vista subwatershed, Upper San Pedro Basin, Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012–1206, 11 p. (Available at




Purpose and Scope

Description of Study Area

Concepts Related to Depletion and Accretion of Surface Water from Groundwater Pumping and Artificial Recharge

Use of the U.S. Geological Survey Upper San Pedro Basin Groundwater Flow Model for Computing Long-Term Effects of Groundwater Pumping and Artificial Recharge

Overall Assessment of Model Applications for Projections of Groundwater Development and Artificial Recharge


References Cited

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