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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Wind Erosion and Water Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #203235

Title: Estimating High Plains Aquifer Recharge Using Temperature Probes

item Gitz, Dennis

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/18/2006
Publication Date: 7/20/2006
Citation: Zartman, R., Hudnall, W., Rainwater, K., Smith, L., Gitz, D.C. 2006. Estimating High Plains Aquifer Recharge Using Temperature Probes[abstract]. Universities Council on Water Resources Annual Conference. July 18-20, 2006. Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The magnitude of recharge through playa wetlands in the High Plains Region of the United States has been debated, but rarely quantified. The ephemeral nature of water in playas makes it difficult and expensive to observe filling and drying/draining cycles. Inexpensive tools are needed to quantify the movement of water below the root zone to observe the recharge process and to quantify recharge amounts throughout the region. Ten playas in the Southern High Plains of Texas have been instrumented with Cu-constantan thermocouples and Hobo probes at 50, 100, 150 and 200 cm soil depths to quantify infiltration and temperature change from infiltration. A transect extended from one annulus through the playa floor to the other annulus in each playa. Each transect was instrumented with four of the probes. One set of Cu-constantan thermocouples and Hobo probes was in the first annulus, two sets of probes were located within the playa and a second set of probes was located in the other annulus. A weather station was placed in each wetland to use for verification of infiltration amounts. One set of probes was located next to a weather station at the deepest elevation of the playas. While a proof of concept experiment (one infiltrometer was installed in a clay-textured soil, characteristic of the playa bottom, and one was installed in coarse-textured soil adjacent to the playa) has shown promise, lack of rainfall has precluded in situ evaluation of the 10 monitored playa watersheds. This study will improve the understanding of High Plains Aquifer recharge.