Simulation-optimization approach to assess groundwater availability in Refugio County, TX

V. Uddameri, M. Kuchanur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sustainable management of groundwater resources is critical for viable development of semi-arid regions. Refugio County, TX, is predominantly a rural community that is in close proximity to two large urban areas of Corpus Christi and San Antonio. Large-scale water supply projects are being planned to export surplus water available in Refugio County to nearby growing cities. Being a coastal county with several sensitive bays and estuaries, these projects have caused concerns with regard to decreases in freshwater inflows to coastal bodies and raised the possibility of saltwater intrusion. A simulation model characterizing groundwater flow in the shallower unconfined and the deeper semi-confined formations of the Gulf coast aquifer was calibrated and evaluated. The model results were used in conjunction with a mathematical programming scheme to estimate maximum available groundwater in the county. Stakeholder concerns were incorporated as constraints, which included prevention of saltwater intrusion in the aquifer, limiting the amount of allowable drawdown in shallow aquifers, as well as maintaining current flow gradients especially near baseflow-dependent streams and rivers. For the conditions assumed in this study, the model results indicate that roughly 4.93 × 107m 3 of water can be extracted in a typical year. The management model was noted to be very sensitive to the imposed saltwater intrusion constraint.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)921-929
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Geology
Volume51
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2007

Keywords

  • Coastal aquifers
  • Linear programming
  • MODFLOW
  • Multi-aquifer system
  • Sustainability
  • Texas
  • USA

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