US Geological Survey


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Published in Groundwater (2013) 51(4): 613-622. DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2012.01000.x


A previously published regional groundwater-flow model in north-central Nebraska was sequentially linked with the recently developed soil-water-balance (SWB) model to analyze effects to groundwater-flow model parameters and calibration results. The linked models provided a more detailed spatial and temporal distribution of simulated recharge based on hydrologic processes, improvement of simulated groundwater-level changes and base flows at specific sites in agricultural areas, and a physically based assessment of the relative magnitude of recharge for grassland, nonirrigated cropland, and irrigated cropland areas. Root-mean-squared (RMS) differences between the simulated and estimated or measured target values for the previously published model and linked models were relatively similar and did not improve for all types of calibration targets. However, without any adjustment to the SWB-generated recharge, the RMS difference between simulated and estimated base-flow target values for the groundwater-flow model was slightly smaller than for the previously published model, possibly indicating that the volume of recharge simulated by the SWB code was closer to actual hydrogeologic conditions than the previously published model provided. Groundwater-level and base-flow hydrographs showed that temporal patterns of simulated groundwater levels and base flows were more accurate for the linked models than for the previously published model at several sites, particularly in agricultural areas.