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Scientific Investigations Report 2013–5122

Prepared in cooperation with the Arizona Department of Water Resources and Mohave County, Arizona

Preliminary Groundwater Flow-Model of the Basin-Fill Aquifers in Detrital, Hualapai, and Sacramento Valleys, Mohave County, Northwestern Arizona

By Fred D Tillman, Bradley D. Garner, and Margot Truini

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (10.9 MB)Abstract

Preliminary numerical models were developed to simulate groundwater flow in the basin-fill alluvium in Detrital, Hualapai, and Sacramento Valleys in northwestern Arizona. The purpose of this exercise was to gather and evaluate available information and data, to test natural‑recharge concepts, and to indicate directions for improving future regional groundwater models of the study area. Both steady-state and transient models were developed with a single layer incorporating vertically averaged hydraulic properties over the model layer. Boundary conditions for the models were constant-head cells along the northern and western edges of the study area, corresponding to the location of the Colorado River, and no-flow boundaries along the bedrock ridges that bound the rest of the study area, except for specified flow where Truxton Wash enters the southern end of Hualapai Valley. Steady-state conditions were simulated for the pre-1935 period, before the construction of Hoover Dam in the northwestern part of the model area. Two recharge scenarios were investigated using the steady-state model—one in which natural aquifer recharge occurs directly in places where water is available from precipitation, and another in which natural aquifer recharge from precipitation occurs in the basin-fill alluvium that drains areas of available water. A transient model with 31 stress periods was constructed to simulate groundwater flow for the period 1935–2010. The transient model incorporates changing Colorado River, Lake Mead, and Lake Mohave water levels and includes time-varying groundwater withdrawals and aquifer recharge. Both the steady-state and transient models were calibrated to available water-level observations in basin-fill alluvium, and simulations approximate observed water-level trends throughout most of the study area.

First posted September 17, 2013

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

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Suggested citation:

Tillman, F.D, Garner, B.D., and Truini, M., 2013, Preliminary groundwater flow model of the basin-fill aquifers in Detrital, Hualapai, and Sacramento Valleys, Mohave County, northwestern Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2013–5122, 52 p.,




Description of Study Area

Conceptual Model of the Groundwater-Flow System

Simulation of Groundwater Flow

Summary and Conclusions


References Cited

Appendix 1. Simulated Transient Water Levels and Observed Water Levels in Wells in Detrital, Hualapai, and Sacramento Valley Basins

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