A Hydro-Economic Approach for Quantifying Well Performance Thresholds and Recoverable Groundwater Yields in Texas
Cover photo: The Narrows on the Blanco River. ©2020 Erich Ross Schlegel, Texas Water Foundation.
PDF

Keywords

well performance
well optimization
pumping costs
depth-to-water
recoverability

How to Cite

“A Hydro-Economic Approach for Quantifying Well Performance Thresholds and Recoverable Groundwater Yields in Texas”. 2024. Texas Water Journal 15 (1): 1-33. https://doi.org/10.21423/twj.v15i1.7160.

Abstract

Groundwater overdraft may increase the depth of the potentiometric surface, or depth-to-water, over time; reducing potentiometric head available to support well operation and increasing the cost of pumping. These hydro-economic impacts create well failure thresholds. Understanding these impacts and thresholds is a critical issue for groundwater management but tools to assess them are not widely available or established. Therefore, an analytical model developed in this study quantifies changes in well performance with depth-to-water, calculates well failure thresholds, and estimates feasible storage yields for variable uses, wells, and aquifers. The model is developed and tested using both a single well and a regional analysis of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer in Texas, U.S.A., where a contemporary groundwater dataset is available and management is depth-to-water-based. Results reveal how storage conditions drive well performance and suggest that performance in shallow and unconfined settings may be more limited by operational thresholds than affordability thresholds, while performance in deep and confined settings may be inversely limited. At the tested parameters for a single well, failure to account for drawdown would overestimate operationally feasible yields by 98% – 108% and economically feasible yields by 24%. The model could directly support manager, stakeholder, and policymaker consideration of desired future conditions.

PDF

References

[AWWA] American Water Works Association. 2015. Standard for Water Wells. Denver, CO: American Water Works Association. https://doi.org/10.12999/AWWA.A100.15.

Barlow, Paul M., and Stanley A. Leake. 2012. Streamflow Depletion by Wells: Understanding and Managing the Effects of Groundwater Pumping on Streamflow. Reston, VA: U.S. Geological Survey. https://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/1376/pdf/circ1376_barlow_report_508.pdf.

Barlow, Paul M, and Eric G. Reichard. 2010. “Saltwater Intrusion in Coastal Regions of North America.” Hydrogeology Journal 18: 247–260. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-009-0514-3.

Bradley, Robert G. 2016. Aquifer Assessment 16-01: Supplemental Report of Total Estimated Recoverable Storage for Groundwater Management Area 10. Austin, TX: Texas Water Development Board. https://www.twdb.texas.gov/groundwater/docs/AA/AA16-01_TERS.pdf.

Brady, Ross, Wayne Beckerman, Amber Capps, Braden Kennedy, Peyton McGee, Kayla Northcut, Mason Parish, Abdullilah Qadeer, Shuting Shan, and James Griffin. 2016. Reorganizing Groundwater Regulation in Texas. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University. https://oaktrust.library.tamu.edu/bitstream/handle/1969.1/187041/2016%20Final%20Report%20Reorganizing%20Groundwater%20Regulation%20in%20Texas%20%283%29.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y.

de Frutos Cachorro, Julia, Katrin Erdlenbruch, and Mabel Tidball. 2014. “Optimal Adaptation Strategies to Face Shocks on Groundwater Resources.” Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control 40: 134–153. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jedc.2014.01.005.

Döll, Petra, Hannes Müller Schmied, Carina Schuh, Felix T. Portmann, and Annette Eicker. 2014. “Global-scale Assessment of Groundwater Depletion and Related Groundwater Abstractions: Combining Hydrological Modeling with Information from Well Observations and GRACE Satellites.” Water Resources Research 50 (7): 5698–5720. https://doi.org/10.1002/2014WR015595.

Domenico, P. A., D. V. Anderson, C. M. Case. 1968. “Optimal Ground-Water Mining.” Water Resources Research 4 (2): 247–255. https://doi.org/10.1029/WR004i002p00247.

Dutton, Allan R., Bob Harden, Jean-Philippe Nicot, and David O’Rourke. 2003. Groundwater Availability Model for the Central Part of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer in Texas. Austin, TX: Bureau of Economic Geology, the University of Texas at Austin. http://www.twdb.texas.gov/groundwater/models/gam/czwx_c/czwx_c_full_report.pdf.

Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Day-McDaniel, 08-0964 (Tex. Feb. 24, 2012). https://caselaw.findlaw.com/tx-supreme-court/1595644.html.

[EPA] U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1998. Information for States on Developing Affordability Criteria for Drinking Water. Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water. https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPDF.cgi/2000272B.PDF?Dockey=2000272B.PDF.

Feng, Wei, Min Zhong, Jean-Michel Lemoine, Richard Biancle, Hou-Tse Hsu, and Jun Xia. 2013. “Evaluation of Groundwater Depletion in North China Using the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) Data and Ground-based Measurements.” Water Resources Research 49 (4): 2110–2118. https://doi.org/10.1002/wrcr.20192.

Fipps, Guy. 2015. Calculating Horsepower Requirements and Sizing Irrigation Supply Pipelines. College Station, TX: Texas Agricultural Extension Service, Texas A&M University. https://oaktrust.library.tamu.edu/bitstream/handle/1969.1/87739/pdf_669.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y.

Foster, Timothy, Nicholas Brozović, and Adrian P. Butler. 2016. “Effects of Initial Aquifer Conditions on Economic Benefits from Groundwater Conservation.” Water Resources Research 53 (1): 744–762. https://doi.org/10.1002/2016WR019365.

Gailey, Robert M., Jay R. Lund, and Josué Medellín-Azuara. 2019. “Domestic Well Reliability: Evaluating Supply Interruptions from Groundwater Overdraft, Estimating Costs and Managing Economic Externalities.” Hydrogeology Journal 27: 1159–1182. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-019-01929-w.

Gailey, Robert M., Jay R. Lund, and Jon R. Phillip. 2022. “Domestic-well Failure Mitigation and Costs in Groundwater Management Planning: Observations from Recent Groundwater Sustainability Plans in California, USA.” Hydrogeology Journal 30: 417–428. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-021-02431-y.

Gisser, Micha, and David A. Sánchez. 1980. “Competition Versus Optimal Control in Groundwater Pumping.” Water Resources Research 16 (4): 638–642. https://doi.org/10.1029/WR016i004p00638.

[GMA 8] Groundwater Management Area 8. 2021. Groundwater Management Area 8 Desired Future Conditions Explanatory Report. Austin, TX: Texas Water Development Board. https://www.twdb.texas.gov/groundwater/dfc/docs/2021/GMA8_DFCExpRep_2021.pdf?d=3609.

[GMA 9] Groundwater Management Area 9 Joint Planning Committee. 2021. Groundwater Management Area 9 2021 Explanatory Report for Desired Future Conditions for Major and Minor Aquifers. Austin, TX: Texas Water Development Board. https://www.twdb.texas.gov/groundwater/dfc/docs/2021/GMA9_DFCExpRep_2021.pdf?d=3609.

[GMA 13] Groundwater Management Area 13 Joint Planning Committee. 2022. 2021 Joint Planning Desired Future Conditions Explanatory Report. Austin, TX: Texas Water Development Board. https://www.twdb.texas.gov/groundwater/dfc/docs/2021/GMA13_DFCExpRep_2021.pdf?d=3609.

[GMA 14] Groundwater Conservation Districts in Groundwater Management Area 14. 2022. Desired future conditions explanatory report. Austin, TX: Texas Water Development Board. https://www.twdb.texas.gov/groundwater/dfc/docs/2021/GMA14_DFCExpRep_2021.pdf?d=3609.

[GMA 15] Groundwater Management Area 15 Joint Planning Committee. 2021. 2021 Joint Planning Desired Future Conditions Explanatory Report. Austin, TX: Texas Water Development Board. https://www.twdb.texas.gov/groundwater/dfc/docs/2021/GMA15_DFCExpRep_2021.pdf?d=3609.

Hantush, Mahdi S. 1961a. “Drawdown Around a Partially Penetrating Well.” Journal of the Hydraulics Division 87 (4): 83–98. https://doi.org/10.1061/JYCEAJ.0000633.

Hantush, Mahdi S. 1961b. “Aquifer Tests on Partially Penetrating Wells.” Journal of the Hydraulics Division 87 (5): 171–194. https://doi.org/10.1061/JYCEAJ.0000639.

Jacob, C. E. 1947. “Drawdown Test to Determine Effective Radius of Artesian Well.” Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers 112 (1): 1047–1064. https://doi.org/10.1061/TACEAT.0006033.

Jasechko, Scott, and Debra Perrone. 2021. “Global Groundwater Wells at Risk of Running Dry.” Science 372 (6540): 418–421. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abc2755.

Joodaki, Gholamreza, John Wahr, and Sean Swenson. 2014. “Estimating the Human Contribution to Groundwater Depletion in the Middle East, from GRACE Data, Land Surface Models, and Well Observations.” Water Resources Research 50 (3): 2679–2692. https://doi.org/10.1002/2013WR014633.

Kanazawa, Mark T. 1992. “Econometric Estimation of Groundwater Pumping Costs: a Simultaneous Equations Approach.” Water Resources Research 28 (6): 1507–1516. https://doi.org/10.1029/92WR00198.

Michael, A. M., S. D. Khepar, and S. K. Sondhi. 2008. Water Wells and Pumps – 2nd Edition. New Delhi, India: Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company Ltd.

Misstear, Bruce, David Banks, and Lewis Clark. 2017. Water Wells and Boreholes, 2nd Edition. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Nanteza, Jamiat, Caroline R. de Linage, Brian F. Thomas, and James S. Famiglietti. 2016. “Monitoring Groundwater Storage Changes in Complex Basement Aquifers: an Evaluation of the GRACE Satellites over East Africa.” Water Resources Research 52 (12): 9542–9564. https://doi.org/10.1002/2016WR018846.

[NED] Nation Elevation Dataset. 2013. 10 Square Meter Resolution. U.S. Geological Survey. https://www.usgs.gov/core-science-systems/ngp/tnm-delivery/gis-data-download?qt-science_support_page_related_con=0#.

Neuman, Shlomo P. 1972. “Theory of Flow in Unconfined Aquifers Considering Delayed Response of the Water Table.” Water Resources Research 8 (4): 1031–1045. https://doi.org/10.1029/WR008i004p01031.

Neuman, Shlomo P. 1974. “Effect of Partial Penetration on Flow in Unconfined Aquifers Considering Delayed Gravity Response.” Water Resources Research 10 (2): 303–312.https://doi.org/10.1029/WR010i002p00303.

Olsthoorn, Theo. 2016. Transient Groundwater Flow 1.0.1 Analytical Solutions Documentation. Delft, Netherlands: IHE Delft Institute for Water Education. https://olsthoorn.readthedocs.io/en/latest/index.html.

Provencher, Bill, and Oscar Burt. 1993. “The Externalities Associated with the Common Property Exploitation of Groundwater.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 24: 139–158. https://doi.org/10.1006/jeem.1993.1010.

Reichard, Eric G., Zhen Li, and Caroline Hermans. 2010. “Emergency User of Groundwater as a Backup Supply: Quantifying Hydraulic Impacts and Economic Benefits.” Water Resources Research 46 (9). https://doi.org/10.1029/2009WR008208.

Smith, Stuart A., and Allen E. Comeskey. 2010. Sustainable Wells: Maintenance, Problem Prevention, and Rehabilitation. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Smith, Ryan G., Rosemary Knight, Jingyi Chen, Jessica A. Reeves, Howard A. Zebker, Thomas Farr, and Zhen Liu. 2017. “Estimating the Permanent Loss of Groundwater Storage in the Southern San Joaquin Valley California.” Water Resources Research 53 (3): 2133–2148. https://doi.org/10.1002/2016WR019861.

Smith, Ryan G., Rosemary Knight, and Scott Fendorf. 2018. “Overpumping Leads to California Groundwater Arsenic Threat.” Nature Communications 9. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-04475-3.

Sterret, Robert J., and Fletcher G. Driscoll. 2007. Groundwater & Wells, 3rd Edition. New Brighton, MN : Johnson Screens.

Stoner, R. F., D. M. Milne, and P. J. Lund. 1979. “Economic Design of Wells.” Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology 12 (2): 63–78. https://doi.org/10.1144/GSL.QJEG.1979.012.02.01.

Theis, Charles V. 1935. “The Relation Between the Lowering of the Piezometric Surface and the Rate and Duration of Discharge of a Well Using Groundwater Storage.” American Geophysical Union Transactions 16: 519–524. https://doi.org/10.1029/TR016i002p00519.

Thompson, Justin C. 2021a. “Jupyter Notebook WPM (Version 1.0).” Texas Data Repository. https://doi.org/10.18738/T8/Z4QT6Q.

Thompson, Justin C. 2021b. “Jupyter Notebook WPM_RegionLauncher (Version 1.0).” Texas Data Repository. https://doi.org/10.18738/T8/Z4QT6Q.

Thompson, Justin C., Charles W. Kreitler, and Michael H. Young. 2020. “Exploring Groundwater Recoverability in Texas: Maximum Economically Recoverable Storage.” Texas Water Journal 11 (1): 152–171. https://doi.org/10.21423/twj.v11i1.7113.

Tsur, Yacov, and Amos Zemel. 2004. “Endangered Aquifers: Groundwater Management under Threats of Catastrophic Events.” Water Resources Research 40 (6). https://doi.org/10.1029/2003WR002168.

Turner, Sean W. D., Mohamad Hejazi, Catherine Yonkofski, Son H. Kim, and Page Kyle. 2019. “Influence of Groundwater Extraction Costs and Resource Depletion Limits on Simulated Global Nonrenewable Water Withdrawals over the Twenty-First Century.” Earth’s Future 7 (2): 123–135. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018EF001105.

Wada, Yoshihide, Ludovicus P. H. van Beek, Cheryl M. van Kempen, Josef W. T. M. Reckman, Slavek Vasak, and Marc F. P. Bierkens. 2010. “Global Depletion of Groundwater Resources.” Hydrology and Land Surface Studies 37 (20). https://doi.org/10.1029/2010GL044571.

Westbrook, Gary. 2021. Letter to Groundwater Conservation Districts Located in Groundwater Management Area 12 Regarding Proposed Desired Future Conditions (DFCs). Milano, TX: Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District. https://posgcd.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/GMA-12-Proposed-DFCs_v2.pdf.

Williams, Dennis E. 1985. “Modern Techniques in Well Design.” Journal - American Water Works Association 77 (9): 68–74. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1551-8833.1985.tb05608.x.

Young, Steven, Marius Jigmond, Toya Jones, and Tom Ewing. 2018. Final Report: Groundwater Availability Model for the Central Portion of the Sparta, Queen City, and Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifers. Austin, TX: INTERA Incorporated. https://www.twdb.texas.gov/groundwater/models/gam/czwx_c/czwx_c.asp.

Young, Steven, and Ross Kushnereit. 2020. GMA 12 Update to the Groundwater Availability Model for the Central Portion of the Sparta, Queen City, and Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifers. Austin, TX: INTERA Incorporated. https://www.twdb.texas.gov/groundwater/models/gam/czwx_c/czwx_c.asp.

Young, Steven, Marius Jigmond, Toya Jones, Tom Ewing, and Ross Kushnereit. 2020. Geodatabase Associated with the Groundwater Availability Model for the Central Portion of the Sparta, Queen City, and Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifers, version 3.02. Austin, TX: INTERA Incorporated. https://s3.amazonaws.com/gw-models/czwx_c_qcsp_v3.02.7z.

Zimmerman, W. R. 1990. “Finite Hydraulic Conductivity Effects on Optimal Groundwater Pumping Rates.” Water Resources Research 26 (12): 2861–2864. https://doi.org/10.1029/WR026i012p02861.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2024 Justin C. Thompson, Dr. Michael H. Young