Is Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) a Useful Indicator to Forecast Groundwater Droughts? — Insights from a Karst Aquifer

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Abstract

The study sought to understand the relationships between meteorological and groundwater droughts on water levels and spring discharges in Edwards Aquifer, Texas. Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI)-styled Standardized Groundwater Index (SGI) was used to quantify groundwater droughts. SGI time series signal was delayed and damped, while SPI was volatile. SGI values correlated well with SPI values that were observed five to eight months ago. Dynamic regression models with lagged SPI terms and autoregressive integrated moving average errors indicated a statistically significant yet weak relationship between Lag-1 SPI and SGI. The utility of SPI for groundwater drought forecasting was minimal in this aquifer. Nonseasonal and seasonal autoregressive terms played an important role in forecasting SGI and highlighted the need for long-term, high-resolution monitoring to properly characterize groundwater droughts. Spring flows exhibited stronger and quicker responses to meteorological droughts than changes in storage. In aquifers with spring discharges, groundwater monitoring programs must make efforts to inventory and monitor them. Groundwater drought contingency measures can be initiated using SPI but this indicator is perhaps inappropriate to remove groundwater drought restrictions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-88
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of the American Water Resources Association
Volume55
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

Keywords

  • Edwards Aquifer
  • climate change
  • climate index
  • droughts
  • groundwater-level monitoring
  • spring discharges

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