• Progress in Developing Forest Management Guidelines for Increasing Snowpack Water Yields

      Thorud, David B.; Ffolliott, Peter F.; Department of Watershed Management, University of Arizona, Tucson (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
      Snowmelt is a major source of runoff in Arizona for both reservoir systems and groundwater recharge. Because much of the Arizona snowmelt runoff occurs in ponderosa pine forests, it follows that appropriate forest management methods may enhance snowmelt water yield by manipulating tree spacing or overstory density. This paper attempts to establish guidelines for evaluating such forest management practices. Physiographic and climatic factors also affect runoff quantity, and it is conceivable that 2 sites of identical vegetation composition, but different in some combination of these factors might yield quite different amounts of runoff in response to some management practice. A pert network is presented illustrating the investigative framework for such a research effort. The major study activities of the framework are the identifying developing preliminary evaluations and preparing a comprehensive report. Three inventory evaluations to attempt identification of pertinent populations are currently being conducted and are described.
    • Renovating Sewage Effluent by Ground-Water Recharge

      Bouwer, Herman; Lance, J. C.; Rice, R. C.; U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory, Soil and Water Conservation Research Division, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Phoenix, Arizona 85040 (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
      Sewage effluent is commonly used for the irrigation of crops that are not consumed raw. Due to continued population growth in the Salt River Valley, Arizona, economic reuse of municipal waste waters is becoming essential. The salt river bed has about 3 ft of fine loamy sand underlain by sand and gravel layers to great depth and a groundwater table at about 10 ft depth. These conditions are very favorable for high-rate waste water reclamation by groundwater recharge. The activated sludge plant in phoenix will probably be discharging 250 mgd by the year 2000. At 4.5 ft average annual water use, this could irrigate about 70,000 acres, possibly more than agriculture will need at that time. A sewage effluent renovation pilot project was located about 1.5 miles from the plant. It contains 6 parallel recharge basins 20 to 700 ft each, spaced 20 ft apart. The basins were covered by grass, gravel or were left bare. Observation wells were installed at various locations in the area. Results indicated that infiltration rates were fastest in the grassy basins. Phosphate, nitrogen and median fecal coliform levels were all lower after this form of tertiary treatment. Practical details of the application of this water reclamation method in the Salt River Valley are outlined. Costs would be 5 dollars/af, less than 1/10 the equivalent costs of in-plant tertiary treatments.
    • Recharging the Ogallala Formation Using Shallow Holes

      Dvoracek, M. J.; Peterson, S. H.; Hydrology & Water Resources, University of Arizona; Agricultural Engineering Department, Texas Tech University (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
      The southern bed of the ogallala aquifer is hydrologically isolated from all outside areas of recharge, requiring local precipitation for all natural recharge. Current withdrawals are so much greater than natural recharge that it appears that artificial recharge affords the only means of establishing at least a pseudo-balance. A number of observation wells were drilled at Texas Tech University, and subsequently capped until recharge water became available. The initial recharge was 2.5 af over 12 days, at a rate of 120 gpm for about the first day, after which 60 gpm was relatively constant. Approximately 1 month later, 1.2 af were recharged over 3 days at rates ranging over 140-90 gpm. It became evident that a cavity was present at the bottom of the hole being recharged. On a later recharge occasion, the cavity seemed to have enlarged. During a period of 2 years more than 28 af of surface runoff water have been recharged through the shallow hole with increases in recharge rates for each subsequent recharge period. The nature of this phenomenon and the cavities are not understood. This may represent the long sought after answer to recharge of the aquifer, but much more extensive research needs to be done.
    • Use and Abuse of Southwestern Rivers: Historic Man - The Spaniard

      Polzer, Charles W.; Southwestern Mission Research Center, Tucson, Arizona (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
      The early Spanish explorers did not lean toward rivers and boats. Bred in the culture of an arid land, they naturally explored with horses or by foot, leaving boats and rafts to the English and French. No historical records reveal any Spanish desires or attempts to control river flow or harness desert water resources on any appreciable scale. Yet they transformed the Sonoran desert into a productive garden land never before achieved by indigenous peoples. Pueblos were built on river banks where alluvial fans could be easily irrigated. Small arroyo check dams diverted water into wells and town tanks, while larger diversion dams were built to draw water into canals for crop irrigation. The dams were designedly weak and efficient only to the point of diverting sufficient water for the pueblo. There is no concept of storing water in reservoirs or lakes for periods of scarcity, but only of tapping enough water during periods of excess flow. All surplus water was allowed to flow downstream for the use of others in their struggle for survival. In this way the Spanish achieved a balance between human needs and the limited resources of the desert. The records of the Mexicans and the Anglos have been much more exploitive and destructive.
    • Use and Abuse of Southwestern Rivers: The Pueblo Dweller

      DiPeso, Charles C.; The Amerind Foundation, Inc., Dragoon, Arizona (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
      In response to the 20th century crisis of environmental destruction by unrestricted technological exploitation, some archaeologists are studying alternative modes of resource development as practiced by earlier men. The pueblo Indians of the arid southwestern deserts were basically upland corn farmers, who, after A.D. 1000, found it necessary to exploit their environment because of varying combinations of climatic change and increased population pressures. In the northeastern part of the state of Chihuahua, urban engineers, ca 1050, harnessed the entire Casas Grandes dendritic pattern by installing a set of linked hydraulic appointments which included various upslope protective devices such as linear border, check dams and riverside and hillside terraces. Not only were they able to visualize an entire dendritic pattern as the target area, but also they were able to conceive of rainfall and topsoil as a single factor in their control designs. Although large amounts of human labor were needed to construct and maintain these systems, few raw materials were needed. When the mountain-born waters reached the lower valleys, they were clear and sluggish, did not flood the bottomlands, and because of the reduced speed, could easily be diverted into canals and reservoirs, supplying the cities with domestic water and the farmers with irrigation water. Many further studies are needed of these pre-Columbian systems.
    • Tree-Ring Dating of Colorado River Driftwood in the Grand Canyon

      Ferguson, C. W.; Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 85721 (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
      The development of tree-ring chronology for bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata), stretching over 8,200 years, has been used to calibrate the radiocarbon time scale. An extensive deposit of driftwood in Stanton's cave in the grand canyon was estimated to have been deposited on the cave floor about 12,000 years ago on the basis of the 4,095-year radiocarbon age of a split-twig figurine on the surface of the cave floor. However, the initial driftwood specimen gave the surprising C-14 age of 35,000 years. A tree-ring dating study was therefore undertaken on driftwood in the grand canyon in order to: (1) evaluate the driftwood deposit in Stanton's cave; (2) provide a basis for interpreting c-14 dates from canyon archaeological sites; and (3) document a technique for deriving some concept of pre-dam hydrology, especially maximum high water levels. The percentage of dated specimens found indicated that the approach was feasible. A likely interpretation of the seemingly early c-14 dates at archaeological sites is that prehistoric man used old driftwood, as does modern man in the canyon. Tree-ring dates from wood above the pre-dam high water mark indicate that maximum 100-year flood evidence can be obtained.
    • Optimal Utilization of Playa Lake Water in Irrigation

      Dvoracek, M. J.; Roefs, T. G.; Hydrology & Water Resources, University of Arizona (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
      Playa lakes usually occur in arid or semiarid regions where lands are flat and there is an absence of well-developed surface drainage nets. They are usually filled by surface runoff from highly erratic precipitation patterns. There are about 20,000 of them in the high plains of Texas and their volume of storage is an estimated 2.5-3 maf. As such, they represent a major underutilized water source. The major drawbacks to their utilization are high evaporation losses, questionable depth-area relations and the stochastic nature of the rainfall source. This paper assumes that the water is available and presents a dynamic programming model useful in determining the optimal utilization of the water for irrigation. If irrigation is the major use, its timing of application is of paramount importance. A deterministic dynamic programming model, utilizing the state variables of antecedent soil moisture and amount of available water, is presented, and provides the time and amount of irrigation required to maximize crop response. A better stochastic model is also presented which considers rainfall probability and resulting lake filling. The models are only first attempts and do not incorporate all possible variables.
    • The Occurrence of Thermal Groundwater in the Basin and Range Province of Arizona

      Wright, Jerome J.; Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
      The distribution of groundwater having temperature considered to be higher than normal is examined on a regional basis. Much of the work was done by searching the literature and examining USGS records. The geographic distribution of the thermal waters is reviewed; relation to structure, geothermal gradients and water quality are discussed. Current and past utilization of thermal water from both springs and wells of the state has never been very extensive. Conclusions were: (1) the occurrence of thermal water in the state is closely allied to major structural elements, especially major fault zones; (2) geothermal gradients vary widely from place to place; (3) the extent of 'bedrock' influence on thermal water occurrence is difficult to ascertain; (4) most thermal water in southern Arizona is derived from meteoric water.
    • Use and Abuse of Southwestern Rivers: The Desert Farmer

      Ayres, J. E.; Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona, Tucson (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
      The pre-Columbian Hohokam Indians occupied the major river drainages of central Arizona, and have been the subject of much intense archaeological research. Evidence indicates that the Hohokam began using river water for crop irrigation about 300 B.C., and modified and improved their irrigation systems over time, until the maximum extent of these systems was achieved about 900 a. D. Two types of water control seem to have been utilized: (1) the direct exploitation of rivers through the use of irrigation canals, (2) indirect use through controlled runoff within microdrainages at higher elevations before it reached the rivers. At first, probably only those parcels of land with optimal soils and drainage were used, but apparently population increases fostered by agriculture itself, combined with increasing social and political complexity, necessitated more and more exploitation of marginal lands. Eventually soil problems increased, imposing severe limitations on agriculture. These involved salt and alkali accumulation due to inadequate drainage, soil density and water logging. Additionally, the extension of cropping required the clearing of natural vegetation, which resulted in increased erosion and decreased available native food resources for periods when crops failed. The culture vanished completely about 1450 a. D., probably mainly because of their manner of river exploitation for irrigation. More recent archaeological studies are concentrating not only on river use but also on river abuse.