Saturated Thickness in the Ogallala Aquifer in the Panhandle Water Planning Area—Simulation of 2000 through 2050 Withdrawal Projections

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The Ogallala aquifer is one of Texas' major aquifer systems. This study focused on the part of the Ogallala aquifer that underlies 18 of the 21 counties of the Panhandle Water Planning area (PWPA). In the past 50 years, water-level drawdown in parts of the unconfined aquifer has been as much as 190 feet, or about 4 feet per year. Pumping rates for the next 50 years to 2050 have been projected to be greater than previous rates, and additional drawdown is possible. A numerical, or computer, model of the occurrence and movement of groundwater in the Ogallala aquifer was developed to predict future water-level changes. Model development was part of a state-wide process of developing water-resource management plans under Senate Bill 1, 75th Texas Legislative Session. This model improved on previous models by (1) covering the Ogallala aquifer within most of each county in the PWPA with detailed resolution, (2) using as much as possible spatially controlled geologic and hydrologic data, and (3) placing model edges to minimize their effects on the area of interest in Texas. The model is intended to be used as a tool to assess surpluses and deficits in aquifer resources and to evaluate water management strategies that might address resource deficits.


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