Spatial analysis of early-development spring water levels in the Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer, Mississippi Alluvial Plain, South-Central United States

Date

2021-05

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Abstract

The Mississippi Alluvial Plain (MAP) is located in the lower part of the Mississippi River and provides for a multi-billion dollar agriculture industry that spans across seven states. The majority of the water used to irrigate in the MAP region is sourced from groundwater. The Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer (MRVA) is the uppermost aquifer in the MAP aquifer system and supplies about 94 percent of the irrigated groundwater in the MAP region. Many areas in the MAP are experiencing long-term declines in groundwater altitudes, commonly at different rates caused by a variety of factors. Some locations have recorded large cones of depression of up to 90 feet, while others have reported no change in water surface altitude. Water sustainability is a concern of growing interest to the region. One method to regulate groundwater resources that has been investigated is artificial recharge. The Delta region in the MAP, located in western Mississippi along the Mississippi river, has local stakeholders investigating the possibility of implementing artificial groundwater recharge. In order to implement groundwater recharge knowledge of the groundwater surface before large-scale pumping for irrigation occurred is needed. Most of the early development groundwater data are recorded in well measurements that can be found in the United States Geological Survey National Water Information System database. The well data recorded are generally not continuous over time or area across the whole of the Delta region, so to create a continuous potentiometric surface this thesis documented potentiometric surfaces of the Delta region of the MRVA created by interpolating a continuous surface using kriging, a statistical regression analysis, in ArcGIS. Spring and fall potentiometric surface maps of the Delta region in 1981, 1982, 1983, and 2018 were computed using kriging, along with the associated uncertainty for each interpolated surface, and compared using raster mathematics.

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Keywords

Aquifer, Kriging, Mississippi, Semivariogram, Delta, ArcGIS

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