Crystal Springs Reservoir, CA
Project: Crystal Springs Reservoir

Understand aquifer elements to track overall water balance for watersheds


Aquifer elements interact with land segments, reaches, and reservoirs – gaining water from “deep percolation” from land segments, influent streams and seepage from reservoirs, and losing water to down gradient aquifer elements, pumpage, and outflow to streams.

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Groundwater aquifer elements

Aquifer elements are well suited for groundwater in alluvium in valleys or in alluvial fans where the connection between surface water and groundwater is well defined. Aquifer elements would not be used to represent regional multi-layer groundwater regimes where software capable of greater detail (e. g. MODFLOW) would be used.

aquifer element

Aquifer elements in HFAM are additional to the “perched” groundwater flow path that supplies base or groundwater flow in streams. They can be used to track the overall water balance in a watershed where sub surface flow might elude stream gages, avoiding the “bottomless pit” in Steven Gorlick’s and David Stonestorm’s diagram of the Stanford Watershed Model IV (this copy was enhanced by Jones in 1997 and Loague in 2000).