Water-Budget Analysis of Medina and Diversion Lakes and the Medina/Diversion Lake System, with Estimated Recharge to Edwards Aquifer, San Antonio, Texas
|RN Slattery and LD Miller
|Water-budget analysis for Medina and related lakes including recharge in the Edwards Aquifer from 1995-2002
|USGS SIR 2004-5209
|US Geological Survey
|Edwards Aquifer, Balcones Fault Zone, San Antonio Segment, Medina Lake, Diversion Lake
The purpose of this study was to estimate groundwater outflow (recharge) from the Medina Lake/Diversion Lake system through the calculation of water budgets over a wide range of lake stages. Results of the study indicate that average monthly losses from the Medina Lake/Diversion Lake system are about 56 percent of the monthly recharge computed by previously used USGS methods. The study was completed in December 2004 by the United States Geological Survey, San Antonio, Texas.
In January 2001, the U.S. Geological Survey—in cooperation with the Edwards Aquifer Authority—began a study to refine and, if possible, extend previously derived (1995–96) relations between the stage in Medina Lake and recharge to the Edwards aquifer to include the effects of reservoir stages below 1,018 feet and greater than 1,046 feet above National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929. The principal objective of this present (2001–02) study was to estimate ground-water outflow (seepage) from Medina Lake, Diversion Lake, and from the Medina/Diversion Lake system through the calculation of water budgets representing steady-state conditions over as wide a range as possible in the stages of Medina and Diversion Lakes. The water budgets were compiled for selected periods during which time the water-budget components were inferred to be relatively stable and the influence of precipitation, stormwater runoff, and changes in storage were presumably minimal.
Water budgets for the Medina/Diversion Lake system were compiled for 127 water-budget periods ranging from 8 to 78 days from daily hydrologic data collected during March 1955–September 1964, October 1995–September 1996, and February 2001–June 2002. Budgets for Medina and Diversion Lakes were compiled for 14 periods ranging from 8 to 23 days from daily hydrologic data collected only during October 1995–September 1996 and April 2001–June 2002.
Linear equations were developed to relate the stage in Medina Lake to ground-water outflow from Medina Lake, Diversion Lake, and the Medina/Diversion Lake system. The computed mean rates of outflow from Medina Lake ranged from about 18 to 182 acre-feet per day between stages of 1,019 and 1,064 feet above National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929. The computed rates of outflow from Diversion Lake ranged from about -85 to 52 acre-feet per day. The rates of outflow from the entire lake system ranged from about 5 to 178 acre-feet per day between Medina Lake stages of 963 to 1,064 feet. It is assumed that all outflow from the lake system enters the ground-water system as recharge to the Edwards aquifer.
During the time that the stage in Medina Lake was greater than about 1,040 feet, Diversion Lake gained more water than it lost to the ground-water system and the rate of ground-water outflow from Medina Lake increased sharply while its stage was between about 1,043 and 1,045 feet. The observed outflow from Diversion Lake during this time decreased sharply to the extent that a net gain resulted—indicating that a substantial amount of the additional outflow from Medina Lake returned to Diversion Lake. When the stage in Medina Lake is at the spillway elevation of 1,064 feet, Diversion Lake appears to gain as much as 40 percent of the concurrent ground-water outflow from Medina Lake.
An indication of water moving from the lake system into the ground-water system and back to the surface-water system was observed in the most downstream reach of the Medina River, between Diversion Lake and the Medina River near Riomedina.
During conditions of no flow over Diversion Dam, this reach of the Medina River gained from about 32 to 94 acre-feet per day, with the gain increasing with increasing stage in Diversion Lake.
The average of the monthly recharge to the Edwards aquifer from the Medina/Diversion Lake system—as estimated by the present study for the October 1995–September 2002 period—is 3,083 acre-feet, or about 56 percent of recharge computed for this period with a previously used (Lowry) method. The present study’s estimates of recharge for months with rising-lake stage conditions are about 44 percent of those computed with the previously used method, compared to about 60 percent for months with steady or falling-stage conditions.
For stages greater than 1,045 feet, the present study estimated recharge to be about 52 percent of that computed with the previously used method, compared to about 64 percent at stages below 1,045 feet.
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