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Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5163

Prepared in cooperation with the

Hydrologic Characteristics of the Agua Fria National Monument, Central Arizona, Determined from the Reconnaissance Study

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By John B. Fleming


Hydrologic conditions in the newly created Agua Fria National Monument were characterized on the basis of existing hydrologic and geologic information, and streamflow data collected in May 2002. The study results are intended to support the Bureau of Land Management’s future water-resource management responsibilities, including quantification of a Federal reserved water right within the monument. This report presents the study results, identifies data deficiencies, and describes specific approaches for consideration in future studies.

Within the Agua Fria National Monument, the Agua Fria River flows generally from north to south, traversing almost the entire 23-mile length of the monument. Streamflow has been measured continuously at a site near the northern boundary of the monument since 1940. Streamflow statistics for this site, and streamflow measurements from other sites along the Agua Fria River, indicate that the river is perennial in the northern part of the monument but generally is intermittent in downstream reaches. The principal controls on streamflow along the river within the monument appear to be geology, the occurrence and distribution of alluvium, inflow at the northern boundary and from tributary canyons, precipitation, and evapotranspiration. At present, (2004) there is no consistent surface-water quality monitoring program being implemented for the monument.

Ground-water recharge within the monument likely results from surface-water losses and direct infiltration of precipitation. Wells are most numerous in the Cordes Junction and Black Canyon City areas. Only eight wells are within the monument. Ground-water quality data for wells in the monument area consist of specific-conductance values and fluoride concentrations. During the study, ground-water quality data were available for only one well within the monument. No ground-water monitoring program is currently in place for the monument or surrounding areas.


Ground water
Surface water
Ground-water/surface-water interaction
Considerations for further study
References cited
Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Appendix 3

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