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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 #369659

Research Project: Optimizing Water Use Efficiency for Environmentally Sustainable Agricultural Production Systems in Semi-Arid Regions

Location: Wind Erosion and Water Conservation Research

Title: Seasonal patterns of spring discharge at Silver Falls

item Stout, John

Submitted to: Texas Journal of Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/14/2019
Publication Date: 3/23/2020
Citation: Stout, J.E. 2020. Seasonal patterns of spring discharge at Silver Falls, Crosby County, TX. AWRA Geospatial Water Technology Conference, March 23-26, 2020, Austin, TX. Texas Journal of Science. 72(1):Article 6.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Beneath the high plains of the Llano Estacado lies the southern extension of the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides a key source of groundwater for the region. Along the eastern fringes of the Llano Estacado one can find numerous natural springs that discharge from the Ogallala formation and provide a valuable source of freshwater for ranches located in the Rolling Plains of Texas. Large scale irrigation has altered hydrological conditions, which has influenced the flow of springs along the eastern escarpment. In late 2012, the author began a study of a spring located at Silver Falls in Blanco Canyon, east of Crosbyton, Texas. The goal was to monitor the discharge of this naturally flowing spring over a period of many years to establish temporal patterns. Measurements of spring discharge over a seven-year period did not show an appreciable reduction associated with the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer. However, discharge at Silver Falls was found to follow a seasonal pattern of declining flow during the summer followed by a recovery starting in late fall and reaching maximum flow during the winter and early spring. Whereas seasonal variations of spring discharge can be measured precisely, the cause of these seasonal patterns is less certain. It is likely that the combined effects of groundwater extraction for irrigation and the growth and transpiration of natural vegetation contribute to the seasonal patterns of groundwater discharge observed at Silver Falls.