Paper No. 328-2
Presentation Time: 1:50 PM
GROUNDWATER RECHARGE ESTIMATES OF THE INDIAN WELLS BASIN (CALIFORNIA) USING GEOCHEMICAL ANALYSIS OF TRITIUM
Quantifying recharge in groundwater basins located in an arid climate is difficult due to the effects of evapotranspiration and generally low rates of inflow. Constraining recharge for the Indian Wells Valley (IWV) will allow a more refined assessment of groundwater sustainability in the basin. In this study, a well-mixed reservoir model, the decay rate of tritium, groundwater tritium data acquired from USGS, and atmospheric tritium data acquired from IAEA allow for calculation of renewal rate within IWV. The resulting renewal rate throughout the basin show correlation to travel time from the source of recharge to the measurement location in keeping with the well-mixed reservoir model. The renewal rate can be used with porosity and effective aquifer thickness to generate recharge rates ranging from 4.7 cm/yr to 10 cm/yr. Refinement of the porosity and effective aquifer thickness values at each sample location is necessary to constrain recharge rates. Groundwater modeling generated recharge rates (9.32 cm/yr) fall within this range. These results are in keeping with the well-mixed aquifer model and fall within a reasonable range for an arid climate, which shows the applicability of the method.