Proceedings of the Hydrology section of the Annual Meeting of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science. Full text manuscripts of work presented. Research related to water resources, water management, and hydrologic studies primarily focused regionally on southwestern US.

Volume 1. Proceedings of the 1971 Meetings of the Arizona Section - American Water Resources Association and the Hydrology Section - Arizona Academy of Science.

April 22-23, 1971, Tempe, Arizona


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Recent Submissions

  • Hydrology and Water Resources in Arizona and the Southwest, Volume 1 (1971)

    Unknown author (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
  • Politics and the Colorado River

    Steiner, Wesley E.; Arizona Water Commission, Phoenix, Arizona (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
    The Colorado River is the only major stream in the U.S. whose water supply is fully utilized. This distinction has brought the Colorado more than its share of controversy, within states, between states and between nations. The Colorado River compact, whose purpose was to equitably apportion the waters between the upper and lower basins and to provide protection for the upper basin through water reservation, was ratified by all states except Arizona, in 1923. Arizona finally ratified it in 1944. The history of controversies and negotiation concerning the compact are outlined through the supreme court decision on march 9, 1964, which entitled California to 4.4 maf, Nevada to 0.3 maf and Arizona to 2.8 maf, of the first 7.5 maf available in the lower Colorado. Unfortunately, the court did not attempt to establish priorities in the event of shortage. The problem is complicated by an international treaty of 1944, guaranteeing Mexico 1.5 maf annually, except in years of unusual circumstances. Because Senator Connally of Texas was then chairman of the senate foreign relations committee and because the treaty allocated twice as much Colorado River water to Mexico as it was then using, it was argued that this treaty represented a tradeoff to Mexico, giving it less water from the Rio Grande in exchange for more water from the overburdened Colorado. Problems of inter-basin water transfer studies, uniform Colorado basin water quality standards and central Arizona project planning are discussed.
  • Use and Abuse of Southwestern Rivers: Historic Man - The Anglo

    Fireman, Bert; Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
    The exploitation of southwestern rivers is discussed in the context of American intrusion, acquisition and development of Arizona. The first Americans in the region were beaver trappers who quickly decimated the Sonoran beaver but otherwise wrought little environmental impact. Immediately following the acquisition of the region by the U.S. after the Mexican war, gold miners descended upon it from California. They quickly scarred hills and streams, diverting water for placers, building piles of ugly rubble and logging off entire forests. The large numbers of people and towns that followed created a need for more home grown food products and large storage dams were soon built. When these washed out the stored floodwaters did more sharp, tragic damage downstream than even the seasonal floods of the past. The common municipal practice of dumping raw sewage into waterways soon brought water pollution. Following the national reclamation act of 1902, large dams were soon built on major waterways and the multiple use projects came into existence. Today, even the Indians, in their quest for economic betterment are destroying natural waters. They have learned a major lesson from the whites---the rivers they used only for basic needs a century ago, may be more profitable if overused without regard for tomorrow.
  • Use and Abuse of Southwestern Rivers: Historic Man - The Spaniard

    Polzer, Charles W.; Southwestern Mission Research Center, Tucson, Arizona (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
    The early Spanish explorers did not lean toward rivers and boats. Bred in the culture of an arid land, they naturally explored with horses or by foot, leaving boats and rafts to the English and French. No historical records reveal any Spanish desires or attempts to control river flow or harness desert water resources on any appreciable scale. Yet they transformed the Sonoran desert into a productive garden land never before achieved by indigenous peoples. Pueblos were built on river banks where alluvial fans could be easily irrigated. Small arroyo check dams diverted water into wells and town tanks, while larger diversion dams were built to draw water into canals for crop irrigation. The dams were designedly weak and efficient only to the point of diverting sufficient water for the pueblo. There is no concept of storing water in reservoirs or lakes for periods of scarcity, but only of tapping enough water during periods of excess flow. All surplus water was allowed to flow downstream for the use of others in their struggle for survival. In this way the Spanish achieved a balance between human needs and the limited resources of the desert. The records of the Mexicans and the Anglos have been much more exploitive and destructive.
  • Use and Abuse of Southwestern Rivers: The Pueblo Dweller

    DiPeso, Charles C.; The Amerind Foundation, Inc., Dragoon, Arizona (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
    In response to the 20th century crisis of environmental destruction by unrestricted technological exploitation, some archaeologists are studying alternative modes of resource development as practiced by earlier men. The pueblo Indians of the arid southwestern deserts were basically upland corn farmers, who, after A.D. 1000, found it necessary to exploit their environment because of varying combinations of climatic change and increased population pressures. In the northeastern part of the state of Chihuahua, urban engineers, ca 1050, harnessed the entire Casas Grandes dendritic pattern by installing a set of linked hydraulic appointments which included various upslope protective devices such as linear border, check dams and riverside and hillside terraces. Not only were they able to visualize an entire dendritic pattern as the target area, but also they were able to conceive of rainfall and topsoil as a single factor in their control designs. Although large amounts of human labor were needed to construct and maintain these systems, few raw materials were needed. When the mountain-born waters reached the lower valleys, they were clear and sluggish, did not flood the bottomlands, and because of the reduced speed, could easily be diverted into canals and reservoirs, supplying the cities with domestic water and the farmers with irrigation water. Many further studies are needed of these pre-Columbian systems.
  • Use and Abuse of Southwestern Rivers: The Desert Farmer

    Ayres, J. E.; Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona, Tucson (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
    The pre-Columbian Hohokam Indians occupied the major river drainages of central Arizona, and have been the subject of much intense archaeological research. Evidence indicates that the Hohokam began using river water for crop irrigation about 300 B.C., and modified and improved their irrigation systems over time, until the maximum extent of these systems was achieved about 900 a. D. Two types of water control seem to have been utilized: (1) the direct exploitation of rivers through the use of irrigation canals, (2) indirect use through controlled runoff within microdrainages at higher elevations before it reached the rivers. At first, probably only those parcels of land with optimal soils and drainage were used, but apparently population increases fostered by agriculture itself, combined with increasing social and political complexity, necessitated more and more exploitation of marginal lands. Eventually soil problems increased, imposing severe limitations on agriculture. These involved salt and alkali accumulation due to inadequate drainage, soil density and water logging. Additionally, the extension of cropping required the clearing of natural vegetation, which resulted in increased erosion and decreased available native food resources for periods when crops failed. The culture vanished completely about 1450 a. D., probably mainly because of their manner of river exploitation for irrigation. More recent archaeological studies are concentrating not only on river use but also on river abuse.
  • Physiographic Limitations Upon the Use of Southwestern Rivers

    Breed, Carol S.; Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
    Southwestern rivers are few in numbers and low in discharge. The physiographic and climatic reasons for this are discussed. To the east of the 100th meridian, rainfall is reliable and agriculture is stable; while to the west, there is a chronic deficit of water, droughts are frequent and lifestyles must be accordingly adjusted. Dam building results in greatly increased silting behind the dam in both the river and its tributaries and accelerated channel erosion below the dam. Total flow must also decrease due to withdrawals and increased evaporation from reservoirs. The correction of apparent errors in measuring the virgin flow of the Colorado River now indicates that this flow is about 15 maf/yr. Current legal allocations total 17.5 maf/yr of river water, including the central Arizona project (cap), which will withdraw 1.2 maf/yr. While the river is being dammed and overallocated beyond all reason, the water table is being mined at the alarming rate of 20 ft/yr. In central Arizona, it has dropped to about 250 ft below the surface, and even if all withdrawals ceased immediately, it would take many centuries of of desert rains before it would return to its former level of 50 ft. The cap water will cancel only about 1/2 of this overdraft annually. A glance at the phoenix area today shows that rain follows neither the farmers plow nor the subdividers bulldozer.
  • Tree-Ring Dating of Colorado River Driftwood in the Grand Canyon

    Ferguson, C. W.; Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 85721 (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
    The development of tree-ring chronology for bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata), stretching over 8,200 years, has been used to calibrate the radiocarbon time scale. An extensive deposit of driftwood in Stanton's cave in the grand canyon was estimated to have been deposited on the cave floor about 12,000 years ago on the basis of the 4,095-year radiocarbon age of a split-twig figurine on the surface of the cave floor. However, the initial driftwood specimen gave the surprising C-14 age of 35,000 years. A tree-ring dating study was therefore undertaken on driftwood in the grand canyon in order to: (1) evaluate the driftwood deposit in Stanton's cave; (2) provide a basis for interpreting c-14 dates from canyon archaeological sites; and (3) document a technique for deriving some concept of pre-dam hydrology, especially maximum high water levels. The percentage of dated specimens found indicated that the approach was feasible. A likely interpretation of the seemingly early c-14 dates at archaeological sites is that prehistoric man used old driftwood, as does modern man in the canyon. Tree-ring dates from wood above the pre-dam high water mark indicate that maximum 100-year flood evidence can be obtained.
  • Comparison of Water Pricing Structures from a Collective Utility Viewpoint

    Metler, Bill; Duckstein, Lucien; Systems Engineering Department, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721 (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
    As a result of continually lowering water tables in the arid regions of the west, many people are beginning to realize that water should be treated like any other rare resource, letting supply and demand factors regulate its distribution. Three types of price structures are used by water agencies: (1) the flat rate system (2) the step rate system and (3) the block rate system. Each of these structures may be progressive or regressive. At present, Tucson's only source of water lies underground and will presumably decrease as the population increases. To optimize the benefits to the community, it may be necessary to decrease not only average consumption but also summertime peak consumption for swimming pools, evaporative coolers and lawn sprinkling. Currently, Tucson uses a regressive block rate pricing structure. Using the theory of collective utility, a model is developed for use in comparing 2 price structures in an effort to define a monetary value for water conservation. It is concluded that the change in collective utility, du, which is a measure of the worth of change from economic state 1 to 2, is the best measure of price changes in arid areas. The model shows that Tucson water consumption would be lowered and money would be lost with either price structure, but with the permanent change, monetary flow of goods would be greater than under the seasonal structure.
  • Collective Utility: A Systems Approach for the Utilization of Water Resources

    Dupnick, Edwin; Duckstein, Lucien; Systems Engineering Department, University of Arizona (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
    In the semiarid southwestern U.S. where competition for water is fierce between competing users, no regional agency controls water allocation, and as a result, much court litigation ensues. This paper attempts to develop a model for optimal allocation of water resources and to apply the model to a specific case study. In November 1969, the largest farming interest in the Sahuarita-continental area near Tucson filed a court suit seeking first to reduce the amount of groundwater used by 4 nearby copper mines, and then to allocate the water more evenly among various interests in the area. The farming interest maintained that the mines' drawdown on the groundwater table would soon deplete the supply to the point where agriculture would become impossible. The model utilizes the concept of collective utility which postulates the existence of an economic decision maker (edp). To get around the problem of determination of net revenue functions, the theory compares the relative desirability of neighboring economic states. The edp has the power to impose groundwater-use taxes in such a way as to maximize overall growth of collective utility in the Sahuarita-continental area, taking into account the externalities of the resource consumption. The mathematical analysis is presented in detail.
  • Optimal Utilization of Playa Lake Water in Irrigation

    Dvoracek, M. J.; Roefs, T. G.; Hydrology & Water Resources, University of Arizona (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
    Playa lakes usually occur in arid or semiarid regions where lands are flat and there is an absence of well-developed surface drainage nets. They are usually filled by surface runoff from highly erratic precipitation patterns. There are about 20,000 of them in the high plains of Texas and their volume of storage is an estimated 2.5-3 maf. As such, they represent a major underutilized water source. The major drawbacks to their utilization are high evaporation losses, questionable depth-area relations and the stochastic nature of the rainfall source. This paper assumes that the water is available and presents a dynamic programming model useful in determining the optimal utilization of the water for irrigation. If irrigation is the major use, its timing of application is of paramount importance. A deterministic dynamic programming model, utilizing the state variables of antecedent soil moisture and amount of available water, is presented, and provides the time and amount of irrigation required to maximize crop response. A better stochastic model is also presented which considers rainfall probability and resulting lake filling. The models are only first attempts and do not incorporate all possible variables.
  • Progress in Developing Forest Management Guidelines for Increasing Snowpack Water Yields

    Thorud, David B.; Ffolliott, Peter F.; Department of Watershed Management, University of Arizona, Tucson (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
    Snowmelt is a major source of runoff in Arizona for both reservoir systems and groundwater recharge. Because much of the Arizona snowmelt runoff occurs in ponderosa pine forests, it follows that appropriate forest management methods may enhance snowmelt water yield by manipulating tree spacing or overstory density. This paper attempts to establish guidelines for evaluating such forest management practices. Physiographic and climatic factors also affect runoff quantity, and it is conceivable that 2 sites of identical vegetation composition, but different in some combination of these factors might yield quite different amounts of runoff in response to some management practice. A pert network is presented illustrating the investigative framework for such a research effort. The major study activities of the framework are the identifying developing preliminary evaluations and preparing a comprehensive report. Three inventory evaluations to attempt identification of pertinent populations are currently being conducted and are described.
  • The Occurrence of Thermal Groundwater in the Basin and Range Province of Arizona

    Wright, Jerome J.; Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
    The distribution of groundwater having temperature considered to be higher than normal is examined on a regional basis. Much of the work was done by searching the literature and examining USGS records. The geographic distribution of the thermal waters is reviewed; relation to structure, geothermal gradients and water quality are discussed. Current and past utilization of thermal water from both springs and wells of the state has never been very extensive. Conclusions were: (1) the occurrence of thermal water in the state is closely allied to major structural elements, especially major fault zones; (2) geothermal gradients vary widely from place to place; (3) the extent of 'bedrock' influence on thermal water occurrence is difficult to ascertain; (4) most thermal water in southern Arizona is derived from meteoric water.
  • Management of Artificial Recharge Wells for Groundwater Quality Control

    Wilson, L. G.; Water Resources Research Center, University of Arizona, Tucson (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
    Recharge wells may be used in various problems relating to chemical water quality because of the phenomenon of in-aquifer mixing. This paper reviews specific recharge well-mixing techniques of possible utility in underground mixing operations for nitrate control. Illustrative data from field studies at a recharge site near Tucson, Arizona are presented. Both single- and 2-well types of mixing were investigated. In single-well operations, effluent recharge and pumping of the subsequent mixture occur at the same well. Differences in chlorine ion levels were used to distinguish between recharge effluent and native groundwater. Undiluted effluent was discharged in single-well operations until a pumped volume ratio of about 0.4 was attained. Dilution increased steadily with increased pumping and the relative concentration versus pumped volume curve was s-shaped. Seven-day pauses after effluent recharge resulted in immediate pumping of almost completely diluted water, probably because groundwater movement swept the effluent beyond the pumping unit during the pause. With 2-well pumping, the chlorine breakthrough curve reached a constant level at about 13 days and was close to that of the pause-type, single-well regime.
  • Recharging the Ogallala Formation Using Shallow Holes

    Dvoracek, M. J.; Peterson, S. H.; Hydrology & Water Resources, University of Arizona; Agricultural Engineering Department, Texas Tech University (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
    The southern bed of the ogallala aquifer is hydrologically isolated from all outside areas of recharge, requiring local precipitation for all natural recharge. Current withdrawals are so much greater than natural recharge that it appears that artificial recharge affords the only means of establishing at least a pseudo-balance. A number of observation wells were drilled at Texas Tech University, and subsequently capped until recharge water became available. The initial recharge was 2.5 af over 12 days, at a rate of 120 gpm for about the first day, after which 60 gpm was relatively constant. Approximately 1 month later, 1.2 af were recharged over 3 days at rates ranging over 140-90 gpm. It became evident that a cavity was present at the bottom of the hole being recharged. On a later recharge occasion, the cavity seemed to have enlarged. During a period of 2 years more than 28 af of surface runoff water have been recharged through the shallow hole with increases in recharge rates for each subsequent recharge period. The nature of this phenomenon and the cavities are not understood. This may represent the long sought after answer to recharge of the aquifer, but much more extensive research needs to be done.
  • Renovating Sewage Effluent by Ground-Water Recharge

    Bouwer, Herman; Lance, J. C.; Rice, R. C.; U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory, Soil and Water Conservation Research Division, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Phoenix, Arizona 85040 (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
    Sewage effluent is commonly used for the irrigation of crops that are not consumed raw. Due to continued population growth in the Salt River Valley, Arizona, economic reuse of municipal waste waters is becoming essential. The salt river bed has about 3 ft of fine loamy sand underlain by sand and gravel layers to great depth and a groundwater table at about 10 ft depth. These conditions are very favorable for high-rate waste water reclamation by groundwater recharge. The activated sludge plant in phoenix will probably be discharging 250 mgd by the year 2000. At 4.5 ft average annual water use, this could irrigate about 70,000 acres, possibly more than agriculture will need at that time. A sewage effluent renovation pilot project was located about 1.5 miles from the plant. It contains 6 parallel recharge basins 20 to 700 ft each, spaced 20 ft apart. The basins were covered by grass, gravel or were left bare. Observation wells were installed at various locations in the area. Results indicated that infiltration rates were fastest in the grassy basins. Phosphate, nitrogen and median fecal coliform levels were all lower after this form of tertiary treatment. Practical details of the application of this water reclamation method in the Salt River Valley are outlined. Costs would be 5 dollars/af, less than 1/10 the equivalent costs of in-plant tertiary treatments.
  • The Use of Chemical Hydrographs in Groundwater Quality Studies

    Schmidt, Kenneth D.; Harshbarger and Associates, Tucson, Arizona (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
    High nitrates in drinking water are significant in relation to an infant disease, methemoglobinemia, and the U.S. public health service has set a limit of 45 ppm for human consumption. This paper illustrates how chemical hydrographs were used in a study of nitrates in the groundwater of the Fresno-Clovis metropolitan area (F.C.M.A.) of semiarid central California. The area comprises about 145 square miles, with a population of 310,000. Urban water use is entirely derived from wells, whereas the surrounding agriculture relies on surface and ground water. In 1965, the California department of water resources noted nitrate concentrations in the F.C.M.A. were exceeding the safe limit. A number of sources of error in chemical analyses of water quality are noted. A measure of the accuracies of analyses and a method of double-checking anomalous results is furnished by plotting chemical hydrographs of individual wells. Seasonal changes in nitrate were consistent for many parts of the area, and were related to hydrogeologic factors and parameters directly affecting nitrification. Nitrate hydrographs were monitored by chloride hydrographs. The highest nitrate concentrations were in the shallower parts of the aquifer, and well deepening and changes in water level, pumping patterns and recharge rates complicated interpretations. However, the hydrographs helped to pinpoint the source of nitrate in areas where several possible sources were present.
  • A Stochastic Analysis of Flows on Rillitto Creek

    Baran, N. E.; Kisiel, C. C.; Duckstein, L.; Hydrology & Water Resources, University of Arizona (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
    In order to construct a simulation model for ephemeral streamflow and to examine in depth the problem of the worth of data for that model, measurements of the ephemeral streamflow of Rillitto creek, Tucson, were analyzed for the period 1933-1965. The simulation model was based on several hypotheses: (1) flow durations and their succeeding dry periods (time when no flow is present) are independent; (2) the distribution of the lengths of the dry periods and flows is stationary over a certain period of the year (summer); (3) stationary probability distributions for flow durations and for dry period lengths can be derived. A related problem was how to derive a simulation model for the total amount of flow (in acre-ft) within 1 flow period. Three variables were considered: flow duration (minutes), peak intensity of flow (cu ft/sec) and antecedent dry period-minutes (ADP). Because the assumption of variance constancy does not hold, a multiplicative regression model was used. Using an analysis of variance, which is described in detail, the worth of the 3 kinds of data were examined in relation to total flow. It was concluded that there are at least 5 times during the year when the flow intervals differ significantly, and the ADP is not important in determining flow volume because of the poison flow arrival rate in summer. Events occur at random and are not clustered as in summer, indicating that channel moisture does not differ much between flow events.
  • Conditional Streamflow Probabilities

    Roefs, T. G.; Clainos, D. M.; Hydrology & Water Resources, University of Arizona (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
    Streamflows of monthly or shorter time periods, are, in most parts of the world, conditionally dependent. In studies of planning, commitment and operation decisions concerning reservoirs, it is probably most computationally efficient to use simulation routines for decisions of low dimensions, as planning and commitment, and optimization routines for the highly dimensional operation rule decisions. This presents the major problem of combining the 2 routines, since streamflow dependencies in simulation routines are continuous while the direct stochastic optimization routines are discrete. A stochastic streamflow synthesis routine is described consisting of 2 parts: streamflow probability distribution and dependency analysis and a streamflow generation using the relationships developed. A discrete dependency matrix between streamflow amounts was then sought. Setting as the limits of interest the class 400-500 thousand acre ft in January and 500-600 thousand acre ft in February, and using the transforms specified, the appropriate normal deviates were determined. The next serious problem was calculating the conditional dependency based on the bivariate normal distribution. In order to calculate the joint probability exactly, double integrations would be required and these use too much computer time. For the problem addressed, therefore, the use of 1-dimensional conditional probabilities based on the flow interval midpoint is an adequate and effective procedure.
  • Field Measurements of Soil-Water Content and Soil-Water Pressure

    Reginato, R. J.; Jackson, R. D.; U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory, Soil and Water Conservation Research Division, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Phoenix, Arizona 85040 (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
    Knowledge of the dynamic water content-pressure potential relationship within the soil profile is useful in determining the importance of hysteresis under natural conditions. Continuous monitoring of water content in the field is now possible using recently developed gamma-ray transmission equipment which allows water content measurements in 1 cm-thick soil layers with an error of 0.0009 gm/gm. The nuclear equipment and the tensiometer assembly for pressure measurements are described. Soil water content and pressure in the top 10 cm of a field soil profile were measured continuously for a 2-week period following an irrigation. The highest water content was measured each day just before sunrise. This declined rapidly from early morning to early afternoon, and was followed by a gain during the mid-afternoon and evening. The amplitude of this diurnal change diminished with time after irrigation. The pressure potential at a depth of 1.5 cm decreased most rapidly as the water content declined, but not exactly in phase. This may have been due to temperature effects on the pressure metering system. A moisture characteristic curve was constructed from the data.

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