Date of this Version
McGuire, V.L., 2017, Water-level and recoverable water in storage changes, High Plains aquifer, predevelopment to 2015 and 2013–15: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5040, 14 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175040.
The High Plains aquifer underlies 111.8 million acres (about 175,000 square miles) in parts of eight States—Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. Water-level declines began in parts of the High Plains aquifer soon after the beginning of substantial irrigation with groundwater in the aquifer area (about 1950). This report presents water-level changes and change in recoverable water in storage in the High Plains aquifer from predevelopment (about 1950) to 2015 and from 2013 to 2015.
The methods to calculate area-weighted, average water-level changes; change in recoverable water in storage; and total recoverable water in storage used geospatial data layers organized as rasters with a cell size of 500 meters by 500 meters, which is an area of about 62 acres. Raster datasets of water-level changes are provided for other uses.
Water-level changes from predevelopment to 2015, by well, ranged from a rise of 84 feet to a decline of 234 feet. Water-level changes from 2013 to 2015, by well, ranged from a rise of 24 feet to a decline of 33 feet. The area-weighted, average water-level changes in the aquifer were an overall decline of 15.8 feet from predevelopment to 2015 and a decline of 0.6 feet from 2013 to 2015. Total recoverable water in storage in the aquifer in 2015 was about 2.91 billion acre-feet, which was a decline of about 273.2 million acre-feet since predevelopment and a decline of 10.7 million acre-feet from 2013 to 2015.