Streamflow depletion by wells: Understanding and managing the effects of groundwater pumping on streamflow

H.L. Venegas-Quiñones and T.P.A. Ferré
Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences
The University of Arizona

Groundwater is an important source of water for many anthropogenic activities. Most of the time, it is the only source of water in arid and semi-arid regions. Streamflow depletions caused by pumping have become an important water-resource management issue because of the negative impacts that reduced flows can have on aquatic ecosystems, the availability of surface water, and the quality and aesthetic value of streams and rivers. However, it is difficult to observe and measure because it depends on the amount of water available in the stream and in local aquifers, as well as the subsurface geology. Over the past decades has made important contributions to the basic understanding of the processes and factors that affect streamflow depletion by wells. In this context, the decision-making process has been playing a significant role in management and political decision to get the most suitable solutions between different stakeholders. In its simplest sense, decision-making is the act to select the best alternatives under multiple and often conflicting criteria by reducing uncertainty which has many different types of sources. In this more extensive process of problem-solving could lead to a conflict between stakeholders. For these reasons, the purpose of this investigation is to use Hantush's analytical solution to determine streamflow depletion caused by pumping wells in complex scenarios to create a suitable and tangible decision-making process between stakeholders.

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