Assessing Potential Groundwater-Level Declines from Future Withdrawals in the Hualapai Valley, Northwestern Arizona

Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5077
Prepared in cooperation with Mohave County and the City of Kingman
By: , and 



A numerical groundwater flow model of the Hualapai Valley Basin in northwestern Arizona was developed to assist water-resource managers in understanding the potential effects of projected groundwater withdrawals on groundwater levels in the basin. The Hualapai Valley Hydrologic Model (HVHM) simulates the hydrologic system for the years 1935 through 2219, including future withdrawal scenarios that simulate large-scale agricultural expansion with and without enhanced groundwater recharge from potential new infiltration basin projects. HVHM is a highly parameterized model (75,586 adjustable parameters) capable of simulating grid-scale variability in aquifer properties (for example, conductivity, specific yield, and specific storage) and system stresses (for instance, natural recharge and groundwater withdrawals). Parameter estimation and uncertainty quantification were performed using an iterative ensemble smoother software (PESTPP-IES) to produce an ensemble of models fit to historical data. Results via the future withdrawal scenario from this ensemble indicate that mean groundwater level will decline at wells in the Kingman subbasin 87 to 128 feet by the year 2050 and 204 to 241 feet by the year 2080. Mean groundwater level is expected to decline at wells in the Hualapai subbasin between 44 and 210 feet by 2050 and between 107 and 350 feet by 2080. The enhanced recharge scenario results show potential for these declines to be partially mitigated in the Kingman subbasin by between 8 and 23 feet in 2050 and between 23 and 43 feet in 2080. The enhanced recharge scenario has no simulated effect on groundwater levels in the Hualapai subbasin. All planned enhanced infiltration projects are located in the Kingman subbasin, which is simulated to become hydraulically disconnected from the Hualapai subbasin owing to groundwater-level declines before 2050. Mean depth to water in the Kingman subbasin as simulated in the future withdrawal scenario will exceed 1,200 feet between the years 2155 and 2214 (median year 2171). In the future withdrawal plus enhanced recharge scenario, mean depth to water in the Kingman subbasin exceeds 1,200 feet between the years 2163 and 2207 (median year 2180), except for one model realization in which the subbasin does not reach an mean depth to water of 1,200 feet by the end of forecast simulation (year 2220). Simulated dewatering of the basin margins reduces scenario pumping rates by as much as 7 percent in 2029 and 12 percent in 2079 below specified rates. Forecasts of groundwater-level declines are based on the reduced simulated pumping rates.

Suggested Citation

Knight, J.E., Gungle, B., and Kennedy, J.R., 2021, Assessing potential groundwater-level declines from future withdrawals in the Hualapai Valley, northwestern Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report, 63 p.,

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract  
  • Introduction  
  • Simulation of Groundwater Flow  
  • Model Limitations and Assumptions  
  • Summary and Conclusions  
  • References Cited  
  • Appendixes 
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Assessing potential groundwater-level declines from future withdrawals in the Hualapai Valley, northwestern Arizona
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2021-5077
DOI 10.3133/sir20215077
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Arizona Water Science Center
Description Report: vii, 63 p.; Data Release
Country United States
State Arizona
Other Geospatial Hualapai Valley
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details