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In cooperation with the Edwards Aquifer Authority

A Water-Budget Analysis of Medina and Diversion Lakes and the Medina/Diversion Lake System, With Estimated Recharge to Edwards Aquifer, San Antonio Area, Texas

By Richard N. Slattery and Lisa D. Miller

U.S. Geological Survey
Scientific Investigations Report 2004–5209


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pdf (33.8 MB)


Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Study Area

Hydrogeologic Setting

Relation to Previous Studies

Purpose and Scope

Water-Budget Analysis

Precipitation

Evaporation

Surface-Water Inflow and Outflow

Reservoir Storage

Ground-Water Outflow

Measurement Error

Estimated Recharge to Edwards Aquifer

Summary

References Cited

Figures

1–3.  
Maps showing:
 
1.  
Location of the study area and upper Medina River Basin, San Antonio area, Texas
 
2.  
Southern part of the upper Medina River Basin and locations of data-collection sites in the study area
 
3.  
Surface and shallow subsurface geology of the study area
4–6.  
Photographs showing:
 
4.  
Weather station on Medina Lake, Texas, March 2001
 
5.  
Medina Irrigation Canal near Riomedina, Texas, August 2004
 
6.  
Diversion Dam near Riomedina, Texas, August 2004
7–13.  
Graphs showing:
 
7.  
Relation between Medina Lake stage and ground-water outflow (GWout) from Medina Lake during selected periods
 
8.  
Relation between Medina Lake stage and ground-water outflow (GWout) from Diversion Lake during selected periods
 
9.  
Relation between Medina Lake stage and ground-water outflow (GWout) from Medina and Diversion Lakes during selected periods
 
10.  
Relation between Diversion Lake stage and ground-water outflow (GWout) to the Medina River between Diversion Dam and the Medina River near Riomedina during selected periods
 
11.  
Relation between Medina Lake stage and ground-water outflow (GWout) from the Medina/Diversion Lake system during selected periods
 
12.  
Ground-water outflow (GWout) from the Medina/Diversion Lake system, as estimated by the present (2001–02) study, and losses computed with the Lowry (1953) method
 
13.  
Comparison of monthly recharge to the Edwards aquifer in the study area during October 1995–September 2002, as estimated by the present (2001–02) study and computed with the Lowry (1953) method

Tables

1.  
Summary of lithologic and hydrologic properties of the hydrogeologic subdivisions of the Edwards and Trinity aquifers, San Antonio area, Texas
2.  
Hydrologic budget data-collection sites in the study area, San Antonio area, Texas
3.  
Summary of selected water-budget periods and associated components of the water budget for Medina Lake, San Antonio area, Texas
4.  
Summary of selected water-budget periods and associated components of the water budget for Diversion Lake, San Antonio area, Texas
5.  
Summary of selected water-budget periods and associated components of the water budget for the Medina/Diversion Lake system, San Antonio area, Texas
6.  
Relative contribution of each component of the water budget and relative part of record used for each water-budget computation for Medina Lake, Diversion Lake, and the Medina/Diversion Lake system, San Antonio area, Texas

Vertical Datum

Vertical coordinate information is referenced to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 (NGVD 29).


Abstract

In January 2001, the U.S. Geological Survey—in cooperation with the Edwards Aquifer Authority—began a study to refine and, if possible, extend previously derived (1995–96) relations between the stage in Medina Lake and recharge to the Edwards aquifer to include the effects of reservoir stages below 1,018 feet and greater than 1,046 feet above National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929. The principal objective of this present (2001–02) study was to estimate ground-water outflow (seepage) from Medina Lake, Diversion Lake, and from the Medina/Diversion Lake system through the calculation of water budgets representing steady-state conditions over as wide a range as possible in the stages of Medina and Diversion Lakes. The water budgets were compiled for selected periods during which time the water-budget components were inferred to be relatively stable and the influence of precipitation, stormwater runoff, and changes in storage were presumably minimal.

Water budgets for the Medina/Diversion Lake system were compiled for 127 water-budget periods ranging from 8 to 78 days from daily hydrologic data collected during March 1955–September 1964, October 1995–September 1996, and February 2001–June 2002. Budgets for Medina and Diversion Lakes were compiled for 14 periods ranging from 8 to 23 days from daily hydrologic data collected only during October 1995–September 1996 and April 2001–June 2002.

Linear equations were developed to relate the stage in Medina Lake to ground-water outflow from Medina Lake, Diversion Lake, and the Medina/Diversion Lake system. The computed mean rates of outflow from Medina Lake ranged from about 18 to 182 acre-feet per day between stages of 1,019 and 1,064 feet above National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929. The computed rates of outflow from Diversion Lake ranged from about -85 to 52 acre-feet per day. The rates of outflow from the entire lake system ranged from about 5 to 178 acre-feet per day between Medina Lake stages of 963 to 1,064 feet. It is assumed that all outflow from the lake system enters the ground-water system as recharge to the Edwards aquifer.

During the time that the stage in Medina Lake was greater than about 1,040 feet, Diversion Lake gained more water than it lost to the ground-water system and the rate of ground-water outflow from Medina Lake increased sharply while its stage was between about 1,043 and 1,045 feet. The observed outflow from Diversion Lake during this time decreased sharply to the extent that a net gain resulted—indicating that a substantial amount of the additional outflow from Medina Lake returned to Diversion Lake. When the stage in Medina Lake is at the spillway elevation of 1,064 feet, Diversion Lake appears to gain as much as 40 percent of the concurrent ground-water outflow from Medina Lake.

An indication of water moving from the lake system into the ground-water system and back to the surface-water system was observed in the most downstream reach of the Medina River, between Diversion Lake and the Medina River near Riomedina. During conditions of no flow over Diversion Dam, this reach of the Medina River gained from about 32 to 94 acre-feet per day, with the gain increasing with increasing stage in Diversion Lake.

The average of the monthly recharge to the Edwards aquifer from the Medina/Diversion Lake system—as estimated by the present study for the October 1995–September 2002 period—is 3,083 acre-feet, or about 56 percent of recharge computed for this period with a previously used (Lowry) method. The present study’s estimates of recharge for months with rising-lake stage conditions are about 44 percent of those computed with the previously used method, compared to about 60 percent for months with steady or falling-stage conditions. For stages greater than 1,045 feet, the present study estimated recharge to be about 52 percent of that computed with the previously used method, compared to about 64 percent at stages below 1,045 feet.

 


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