2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 10:55 AM


BELITZ, K.1, DUBROVSKY, N.2, JOHNSON, Tyler1 and MILBY DAWSON, B.J.2, (1)U.S. Geol Survey, 5735 Kearny Villa Road, San Diego, CA 92123, (2)USGS, Sacramento, CA 95819, kbelitz@usgs.gov

The California Water Resources Control Board, in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is implementing a statewide ground-water quality monitoring and assessment program (GAMA). The USGS developed a comprehensive approach for this effort (Belitz and others, 2003, http://water.usgs.gov/pubs/wri/wri034166/). The program will focus primarily on ground-water basins used for public supply, along with selected areas outside of basins. The focus on basins used for public supply is consistent with legislation authorizing GAMA. The inclusion of areas outside of basins is important because 3,000 of California’s 16,000 public supply wells are in areas outside of basins.

Although there are more than 500 ground-water basins in California, a smaller number account for most of the ground-water use and most of the potential sources of contamination. Consequently, we identified 116 “priority” basins. These basins account for 76% of all public supply wells (95% of those in basins). The priority basins also account for most of the municipal pumping, agricultural pumping, leaking underground fuel tanks, and areas with registered pesticide use. The co-location of sources of supply and sources of contamination occurs not only at the basin scale, but also at the local scale (<30 km2), and not only within basins, but also outside them. Consequently, the monitoring program need not choose between areas that are sources of supply and areas that are sources of contamination.

Assessment of water quality will be based on existing and newly acquired data. About 3000 wells will be sampled, with samples age-dated and analyzed for a broad suite of constituents including major ions, nutrients, volatile organic compounds, pesticides, trace elements, stable isotopes, pharmaceutical compounds and other “emerging contaminants”. Not all constituents will be analyzed for in all samples. The new data will be used to evaluate the reliability of data acquired for compliance with drinking water regulations, will fill data gaps (location and constituents of concern), will allow for detections of compounds at lower concentrations than required by statute, and will provide a basis for a comprehensive and consistent assessment of ground-water quality at local, regional, and statewide scales.