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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SUSTAINING RURAL ECONOMIES THROUGH NEW WATER MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGIES Title: Groundwater modeling of the Calera Aquifer region in Central Mexico

Authors
item Hernandez, Jairo
item Gowda, Prasanna
item Howell, Terry
item Steiner, Jean
item Mojarro, Francisco -
item Nunez, Ernesto -
item Avila, Jose -

Submitted to: Proceedings of the World Environmental and Water Resources Congress Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 9, 2011
Publication Date: May 22, 2011
Citation: Hernandez, J.E., Gowda, P., Howell, T.A., Steiner, J.L., Mojarro, F., Nunez, E.P., Avila, J.R. 2011. Groundwater modeling of the Calera Aquifer region in Central Mexico. Proceedings of the World Environmental and Water Resources Congress Conference. Paper No. 1009. 2011 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary: Agriculture is the economy base in the Calera region of Mexico, and this region uses water from the Calera Aquifer. The aquifer levels are rapidly declining and modeling is one way to learn about the aquifer. A model for the aquifer was calibrated for the study and the results define trends in the groundwater levels. Results followed the observed data trends; the model will be used for defining future management policies and is being validated. Managers will now have a tool available to develop better policies. Water users will benefit from this model, as will the state of Zacatecas, Mexico.

Technical Abstract: The Calera Aquifer is the main source of water for irrigated agriculture, industrial, and drinking water purposes in the Calera Aquifer Region (CAR) in the state of Zacatecas, Mexico. Irrigated agriculture accounts for 80% of the total groundwater extracted from the Calera Aquifer. In recent years, limited rainfall and low agricultural water use efficiency, in combination with fast growing industrial and urban water demand are contributing to groundwater depletion at an unsustainable rate. The main objective of this study was to develop and evaluate a groundwater modeling system using MODFLOW-2000 for the CAR. Predicted groundwater levels were compared with measured data collected from observation wells between 1954 and 2004. Performance statistics indicated that the model performed well in simulating historic groundwater levels in the central part of the CAR, where irrigated agriculture is concentrated. However, further improvements in the conceptual model may be needed to improve predictions in other parts of the CAR.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014
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