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Scientific Investigations Report 2013–5118

Prepared in cooperation with the Sonoma County Water Agency

Hydrologic and Geochemical Characterization of the Santa Rosa Plain Watershed, Sonoma County, California

Edited by Tracy Nishikawa

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (24.3 MB)Executive Summary

The Santa Rosa Plain is home to approximately half of the population of Sonoma County, California, and faces growth in population and demand for water. Water managers are confronted with the challenge of meeting the increasing water demand with a combination of water sources, including local groundwater, whose future availability could be uncertain. To meet this challenge, water managers are seeking to acquire the knowledge and tools needed to understand the likely effects of future groundwater development in the Santa Rosa Plain and to identify efficient strategies for surface- and groundwater management that will ensure the long-term viability of the water supply. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Sonoma County Water Agency and other stakeholders in the area (cities of Cotati, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, and Sebastopol, town of Windsor, Cal-American Water Company, and the County of Sonoma), undertook this study to characterize the hydrology of the Santa Rosa Plain and to develop tools to better understand and manage the groundwater system.

The objectives of the study are: (1) to develop an updated assessment of the hydrogeology and geochemistry of the Santa Rosa Plain; (2) to develop a fully coupled surface-water and groundwater-flow model for the Santa Rosa Plain watershed; and (3) to evaluate the potential hydrologic effects of alternative groundwater-management strategies for the basin. The purpose of this report is to describe the surface-water and groundwater hydrology, hydrogeology, and water-quality characteristics of the Santa Rosa Plain watershed and to develop a conceptual model of the hydrologic system in support of the first objective. The results from completing the second and third objectives will be described in a separate report.

First posted July 9, 2013

For additional information contact:
Director, California Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
6000 J Street, Placer Hall
Sacramento, CA 95819

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Nishikawa, Tracy, ed., 2013, Hydrologic and geochemical characterization of the Santa Rosa Plain watershed, Sonoma County, California: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2013–5118, 178 p.



Executive Summary

Chapter A—Introduction to the Study Area

Chapter B—Hydrology of the Santa Rosa Plain Watershed, Sonoma County, California

Chapter C—Groundwater Quality and Source and Age of Groundwater in the Santa Rosa Plain Watershed, Sonoma County, California

Chapter D—Conceptual Model of Santa Rosa Plain Watershed Hydrologic System

Appendix A. Selected chemical and physical properties and inorganic constituents in samples from selected springs, and wells, Santa Rosa Plain Watershed, Sonoma County, California, 1947–2010

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