Impacts of estimating recharge on groundwater modeling for arid basins.
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Huffman, Janelle H.
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Quantifying recharge and spatially identifying recharge distribution is important for evaluating groundwater sustainability, especially in arid regions. A Guelph Permeameter helped identify specific recharge areas and the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) provided meaningful recharge rates used for modeling Wild Horse Basin in southwest Texas. SWAT generated recharge values that were subsequently used in two transient MODFLOW simulations: one with the recharge distributed according to sediment unit location (distributed zonation), and one with the recharge concentrated in cells adjacent to the mountain fronts surrounding the basin (mountain-front zonation). When comparing the model results to historic well hydrographs, mountain-front recharge appeared to improve calibration. A deterministic analytical model like SWAT is helpful in estimating recharge in arid basins and can create meaningful input parameters for numerical models like MODFLOW. MODFLOW was in turn able to evaluate SWAT recharge estimations for Wild Horse Basin using calibration and sensitivity analyses.