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River Hydrograph Retransmission Functions of Irrigated Valley Surface Water–Groundwater Interactions

TitleRiver Hydrograph Retransmission Functions of Irrigated Valley Surface Water–Groundwater Interactions
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsFernald, AG, S. Cevik, Y, Ochoa, CG, Tidwell, VC, J. King, P, Guldan, SJ
JournalJournal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering
Volume136
Pagination823–835
ISSN0733-9437
Abstract

Storage and release functions of western U.S. traditional river valley irrigation systems may counteract early and rapid spring river runoff associated with climate variation. Along the Rio Grande in northern New Mexico, we instrumented a 20-km-long irrigated valley to measure water balance components from 2005 to 2007. Hydrologic processes of the system were incorporated into a system dynamics model to test scenarios of changed water use. Of river water diverted into an earthen irrigation canal system, some was consumed by crop evapotranspiration 7.4%, the rest returned to the river as surface return flow 59.3% and shallow groundwater return flow that originated as seepage from canals 12.1% and fields 21.2%. The modeled simulations showed that the coupled surface water irrigation system and shallow aquifer act together to store water underground and then release it to the river, effectively retransmitting river flow until later in the year. Water use conversion to nonirrigation purposes and reduced seepage from canals and fields will likely result in higher spring runoff and lower fall and winter river flow.

URLhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1061/(asce)ir.1943-4774.0000265
DOI10.1061/(asce)ir.1943-4774.0000265