Oklahoma Water Resources Center

2017 Symposium



  • Hosted at the Embassy Suites Norman Hotel and Conference Center on October 31 and November 1.
  • The agenda contains information about all the conference sessions.
  • Seth Siegel, author of Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World was OWRB's keynote speaker.
  • The Water Center hosted Dr. Todd Halihan, Professor of Hydrogeophyics at Oklahoma State University.
  • Flash Talks and Poster Session. Outstanding Poster presenters include:

Pictured left: Briana Wyatt and Blessing Masasi (Amy Sikora not available)

Be in the Know:

  • Revisit any of the Presentations. Poster and oral abstracts and presentations are posted below (with author's approval). Click any name to view the presenter's abstract; click on any orange title to open the presentation.
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Tuesday, 10/31, 10:30-12:00

Session 1: Poster Session

  • CLICK HERE to see all poster presenters and presentation titles. Clicking "+" beside any name opens the abstract.
    • Brandon Holzbauer-Schweitzer, 1, OU Graduate Student
      Utilizing Small Unmanned Aerial System-Derived Imagery to Evaluate Water Quality
      • This study is focused in the Grand Lake O' the Cherokees watershed in northeastern Oklahoma, upstream of the Grand Lake reservoir formed by Pensacola Dam, a hydroelectric power installation. The lake receives metals-contaminated waters from the abandoned Tri-State Lead-Zinc Mining District of Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri and is also heavily impacted by nutrient runoff due to agricultural and urban development contributing to eutrophication and significant algal blooms. Addressing these problems higher in the watershed will help to minimize water and sediment quality problems. An ATI AgBot small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) will be used in conjunction with a MicaSense RedEdge sensor to collect multispectral reflectance data in shallow, slow moving, surface drainages, allowing for estimation of chlorophyll concentrations and other water quality parameters. The sUAS technology provides the opportunity to collect multispectral spatial data at site-specific spatial and temporal scales, removing the need for spatially and temporally limited satellite data, and improving aquatic, terrestrial and wetland ecosystem evaluation capability. The spatial data paired with in-situ field verification will allow for data validation and strengthening of water quality and land use models. The goal of this research is to develop predictive water quality models using multispectral data, to decrease field and analytical efforts to characterize water and ecosystem condition at disturbed sites, specifically the Tar Creek Superfund Site. Preliminary results from an sUAS mission using a multispectral sensor flown on May 16th, 2017 revealed that field-measured and calculated chlorophyll concentrations were 11.1 μg/L and 11.6 μg/L, respectively. These results demonstrate that multispectral image acquisition in combination with in-situ field sampling allows for the remote evaluation water quality and may eventually minimize the need for regular labor-intensive field sampling.
    • Jerrod Smith, 2, USGS
      Products: Bathymetry and Capacity of Shawnee Reservoir, Oklahoma, 2016
      • The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the City of Shawnee, performed a bathymetric survey of Shawnee Reservoir (locally known as Shawnee Twin Lakes) in 2016 and released the bathymetric-survey data in 2017. The purposes of the bathymetric survey were to (1) develop a detailed bathymetric map of the reservoir and (2) determine the relations between stage and reservoir storage capacity and between stage and reservoir surface area. The bathymetric map may serve as a baseline to which temporal changes in storage capacity, due to sedimentation and other factors, can be compared. The stage-storage relation may be used in the reporting of real-time Shawnee Reservoir storage capacity at USGS station 07241600 to support water-resource management decisions by the City of Shawnee. Shawnee Reservoir consists of two lakes connected by an equilibrium channel. The southern lake (Shawnee City Lake Number 1) was impounded in 1935, and the northern lake (Shawnee City Lake Number 2) was impounded in 1960. Shawnee Reservoir serves as a municipal water supply, and water is transferred about 9 miles by gravity to a water treatment plant in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Secondary uses of the reservoir are for recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, and flood control. Shawnee Reservoir has a normal-pool elevation of 1,069.0 feet above North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88). The auxiliary spillway, which defines the flood-pool elevation, is at an elevation of 1,075.0 feet above NAVD 88.
    • Briana Wyatt, 4, OSU Graduate Student
      Integration of Remote Sensing and In-Situ Data to Estimate Soil Moisture across Mixed Land Cover Types
      • Soil moisture is an essential earth variable which has been proven to affect near-surface temperature and climate, hydrological processes, agricultural production, and health of ecological systems. However, the majority of soil moisture data currently available from in-situ monitoring networks reflect conditions only under grasslands, and soil water conditions under other land cover types often differ from those at grassland sites. Remotely-sensed vegetation index data, such as those from NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors, have shown strong potential to improve high-resolution soil moisture estimates across various land cover types by integration into hydrological models for enhanced large-scale soil moisture estimation. The objective of this ongoing research is to integrate remotely sensed vegetation index data and in-situ meteorological data to accurately estimate high-resolution soil moisture across areas of intermixed land cover types.
    • Kul Khand, 5, OSU Graduate Student
      Mapping annual riparian water use based on the single-satellite-scene approach
      • The accurate estimation of water use by groundwater-dependent riparian vegetation is of great importance to sustainable water resource management in arid/semi-arid regions.
        Remote sensing methods can be effective in this regard, as they capture the inherent spatial variability in riparian ecosystems. The single-satellite-scene (SSS) method uses a derivation of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) from a single space-borne image during the peak growing season and minimal ground-based meteorological data to estimate the annual riparian water use on a distributed basis. This method was applied to a riparian ecosystem dominated by tamarisk along a section of the lower Colorado River in southern California. The results were compared against the estimates of a previously validated remotely sensed energy balance model for the year 2008 at two different spatial scales. A pixel-wide comparison showed good correlation (R2 = 0.86), with a mean residual error of less than 104 mm/year (18%). This error reduced to less than 95 mm/year (15%) when larger areas were used in comparisons. In addition, the accuracy improved significantly when areas with no and low vegetation cover were excluded from the analysis. The SSS method was then applied to estimate the riparian water use for a 23-year period (1988-2010). The average annual water use over this period was 748 mm/year for the entire study area, with large spatial variability depending on vegetation density. Comparisons with two independent water use estimates showed significant differences. The MODIS evapotranspiration product (MOD16) was 82% smaller, and the crop-coefficient approach employed by the US Bureau of Reclamation was 96% larger, than that from the SSS method on average.
    • Blessing Masasi, 6, OSU Graduate Student
      Assessment of the AquaCrop model for simulating variably irrigated grain sorghum in the Southern High Plains
      • Diminishing water resources have threatened irrigated agriculture in the Southern High Plains (SHP) region. Both surface and groundwater resources have declined due to persistent droughts and severe groundwater abstractions. This occurrence has resulted in loud calls by various sectors in the region to find ways that ensure efficient utilization and conservation of water resources, especially for irrigation. A number of options have been proposed to achieve these goals, including adoption of deficit irrigation, as well as shifting to crops that have high water use efficiency (WUE), such as grain sorghum. However, comprehensive studies are required to assess WUE for these crops under various deficit irrigation strategies, so that meaningful irrigation recommendations could be offered to producers. The use of crop models was reported to be effective in conducting such studies, as they are generally cost effective, and require less time. Nonetheless, performance and applicability of these crop models are influenced by environmental factors such as climate and soils, hence the need to carry out model calibration and performance assessments. The objective of this study was to evaluate the performance of the AquaCrop model in simulating crop evapotranspiration, soil water content and yield for variably irrigated grain sorghum in the SHP region. The model was calibrated and validated using field data collected at the Conservation and Production Research Laboratory in Bushland, Texas and the Oklahoma Panhandle and Research Center in Goodwell, Oklahoma. The preliminary results indicated that the overall performance of the AquaCrop model was satisfactory, but the accuracy seemed to be lower under severe water stress when compared to full irrigation conditions. Therefore, the model was considered adequate for successful formulation of deficit irrigation strategies of grain sorghum in the SHP region.
    • Ali Ajaz, 7, OSU Graduate Student
      Development of climate-smart and threshold based drought indices for Oklahoma's Agriculture
      • Two new agricultural drought indices based on three-layer daily soil moisture data were developed to study droughts in Oklahoma. Soil Moisture Evapotranspiration Index (SMEI) estimates the difference between the departure of water from three layers of soil in terms of reference evapotranspiration (ETrs) and water available in the root zone. SMEI can assess the drought severity by multiple time scales such as 3, 6, 9 months etc. Drought Duration Window (DDW) uses a fixed water deficit threshold to define drought and non-drought conditions on monthly basis. SMEI and DDW were evaluated for their performance by comparing them with U.S. drought monitor (USDM) timeline. Correlation analysis was also performed for the cross-validation with conventional meteorological drought indices such as Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI), Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI), and Atmospheric Water Deficit (AWD). The results showed that SMEI and DDW were in good synchronization with USDM and were able to predict the drought on an early basis. Both newly developed indices showed reasonable agreement with other drought indices, both for short-term and long-term drought events. SMEI showed a cutting edge over conventional indices in terms of its collective sensitivity to react against the soil-moisture and atmospheric variations, and also proved a better spatial comparability. DDW was able to magnify the drought severity in terms of irrigation deficit of a month. SMEI and DDW will contribute towards the challenge of need-based novel drought indices and they will boost the prominence of soil moisture as a crucial input for drought studies.
    • Solmaz Rasoulzadeh Gharibdousti, 8, OSU Graduate Student
      Evaluating the Least Cost Selection of Agricultural Management Practices in the Five Mile Creek Area of Fort Cobb Watershed
      • One of the main causes of water quality impairment in the United States is human-induced Non-Point Source (NPS) pollution through intensive agriculture. The Fort Cobb Reservoir (FCR) watershed located in west-central Oklahoma, United States is a rural agricultural catchment with known issues of NPS pollution including suspended solids, siltation, nutrients, and pesticides. Recently, several Best Management Practices (BMPs) have been implemented in the watershed (such as no-tillage and cropland to grassland conversion) to improve water quality. The objective in this study is to estimate the most cost effective selection and placement of BMPs on farmlands to mitigate soil erosion and the delivery of sediment and nutrient loads to the FCR from Five-Mile Creek (FMC) area of the FCR watershed. We employed the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to develop the hydrological model of the study area. The watershed was delineated using the 10 m National Elevation Dataset and divided into 43 sub-basins with an average area of 8 km2. Through a combination of Soil Survey Geographic Database- SSURGO soil data, the US Department of Agriculture crop layer and the slope information, the watershed was further divided into 15,217 hydrologic response units (HRUs). The historical climate pattern in the watershed was represented by two different weather stations. The model was calibrated for the 1991-2000 period and validated over the 2001-2010 periods against the monthly USGS observations of streamflow and suspended sediment concentration recorded at the watershed outlet. Model parametrization resulted in satisfactory values for the R2 (0.64, 0.35) and NS (0.61, 0.34) in calibration period and an excellent model performance (R2 = 0.79, 0.38; NS = 0.75, 0.43) in the validation period for streamflow and sediment concentration respectively. We have selected 22 BMP scenarios to estimate their efficacy in terms of water, sediment, and crop yields. Linear Programming (LP) was used to determine the cost minimizing choice of BMPs for each HRU that meets sediment and nutrient loads targets for the watershed. The model is capable of providing precise information for stakeholders to prioritize ecologically sound and economically feasible BMPs that are capable of mitigating human-induced impacts at the watershed scale.
    • Divya Handa, 9, OSU Graduate Student
      Assessing the Energy Consumption Efficiency and Irrigation Application Uniformity of Center-pivot Irrigation Systems
      • Center-pivot irrigation systems in the Panhandle, the west central and the south west Oklahoma were tested with the aim of determining their energy consumption efficiencies and irrigation conveyance efficiencies and application uniformities. The pumping plants tested were broadly divided into two categories: electricity powered pumping plant and natural gas powered pumping plants. The energy consumption efficiency is a function of overall pumping efficiency (OPE) and application uniformity is expressed in terms of coefficient of uniformity (CU) and distribution uniformity (DU). The actual Overall Pumping Efficiency (OPE) of the pumping plants were evaluated and compared against two widely used standards: The Nebraska Pumping Plant Performance Criteria (NPPPC) (Krantz, 2010) and the efficiency classification developed by the Center for Irrigation Technology (CIT) at California State University-Fresno. The average OPE was found to be 46.9% and 13.75% for electricity powered irrigation pumps and natural gas powered irrigation pumps respectively. These averages were much lower than the recommended NPPC standards.
    • Karthik Ramaswamy, 10, OSU Graduate Student
      Irrigation System Choice in Oklahoma Panhandle: Center Pivot versus Subsurface Drip
      • This study compares the net returns from corn or sorghum, groundwater, and aquifer life by investing in Center Pivot (CP) and Subsurface Drip (SDI) irrigation systems. The irrigation study in Oklahoma Panhandle Area (OPA) has 106,236 acres of irrigated corn, 19,457 acres of irrigated sorghum, and 64,671 acres of irrigated winter wheat. Data from Oklahoma Water Resource Board (OWRB) indicates that the annual groundwater level of the Ogallala aquifer underlying OPA has been declining at a rate of 1.0 to 2.5 feet since 1995. The annual recharge is estimated to be less than 0.2 feet. Irrigation experiments on corn and sorghum conducted at the Oklahoma Panhandle Research and Experimental Center (OPREC) to determine the yield potential and Water-Use Efficiency (WUE) with CP an SDI is the basis of this study. The experiments applied irrigation amounts and frequencies simulated producers well capacities from 800, 600,…, 200 GPM. The frequencies for the CP irrigation were calculated based on the amount of time required to complete one pivot revolution for applying 1.4 ac-in. The experiments also evaluated the performance of SDI for the above well capacities. Results of the experiments verified that sorghum had higher WUE than corn, and that SDI had higher WUE than CP irrigation. The limited crop research is extended to represent long-term weather conditions, and determine the irrigated corn and sorghum yields and water use. Environmental Policy Impact Calculator (EPIC) simulation model was calibrated and validated against irrigated corn and sorghum. Once the validation was acceptable, the simulation model was used to generate expected corn and sorghum yields for well capacities 800, 600,…, 200 GPM and levels of deficit irrigation under 50 years (1965-2014) using daily weather data. The effects of deficit irrigation were simulated by not allowing the initiation of the next irrigation until available soil moisture had declined to 90, 80, …, 30 percent of soil water capacity. The objective of this study is to determine the producer’s actions that will maximize the Net Present Value (NPV) of the remaining groundwater, such as irrigation system choice, irrigated area, dryland area, deficit irrigation, and the crop choices.
        The concept of representative section of land (640 acres) to have four wells and irrigation systems are interconnected by underground pipeline is assumed. When it is time for irrigation system replacement (every 15 years), a producer can purchase systems for one, two, or three quarter sections but would continue to use all four wells. The four wells connected together can irrigate one to four quarter sections. Published USGS parameters of Ogallala were used to calculate the pumping cost considering the pumping drawdown as the water table declines. The specific yield was 0.18 and hydraulic conductivity was 25 feet/day. The aquifer was divided into six layers by allowing 35 feet of safety zone. The thickness of each layer was the minimum thickness that would support 90 days of pumping 600, 500,…, 200 GPM. The Cooper-Jacob (1946) drawdown equations were used to determine the depth of the 90-day cone of depression of each pumping rate. The drawdowns are used to estimate the total head and cost of pumping acre-feet of water. Current saturated thickness was estimated to be 83 feet and it is assumed that 40 percent of the total area was irrigated. The total available water supply is equal to 13,440 acre-feet.
        The expected net return for each possible crop activity with an irrigation treatment for corn and grain sorghum was computed using enterprise budgets. Ten-year (2005-2014) Oklahoma average prices for corn were $4.50 per bushel and for grain sorghum $4.20 per bushel according to data from the 2013 Oklahoma Agricultural Statistics. Drip irrigation system sizes of 50, 75, 100, 125, and 150 acres with respective costs of $43,000, $58,000, $74,300, $90,700, and $107,000 could be selected. The cost to purchase a single pivot for a 120-acre field was assumed to be $60,000.
        Mixed Integer Programming (MIP) is developed to determine the optimal irrigation level, choice between irrigated corn and sorghum, and optimal most profitable sequence of CP and SDI investments, which will maximize 60-year NPV from the remaining groundwater. Maximizing the NPV by investing SDI over CP on a 640-acre, increased the value of land by $266,958 and the overall grain production by 303,397 bushels.
    • Jacob Stivers, 11, OSU Graduate Student
      Effect of Irrigation Termination date on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) lint/seed yield and fiber quality
      • The goal of this study was to address the effect of irrigation termination date on cotton lint and seed yield, and fiber quality. The study was conducted during the 2015-2017 growing seasons, and located at the Southwest Research and Extension Center, just south of Altus, Oklahoma, within a subhumid climate. A furrow irrigated system applied about 76.2 mm per irrigation application, and treatments were determined based on different termination dates. HVI and AFIS analyses were performed on yield samples, and ANOVA analysis (Minitab) was utilized to determine the significance of results. In 2015, both yield and some fiber quality attributes were significantly improved by the latest irrigation termination; this season was under hot, dry conditions in September which provided adequate heat units. In 2016, average rainfall in August and above average rainfall in September hindered heat unit accumulation in the late season, therefore, results didn't show significant difference in yield or quality among irrigation termination dates. In conclusion, the cotton yield/quality response to irrigation termination date has been seasonally dependent, and results are affected not only by irrigation amount, but also by the amount of heat units accumulated.
    • Manoj Chhetri, 13, OSU Graduate Student
      Effects of drought stress on shaded and non shaded bermudagrass
      • Shade and drought are abiotic stresses that commonly occur simultaneously in managed turfgrass systems. How these two stresses interact to affect turfgrass physiology has not been directly investigated. A greenhouse study was conducted to test the hypothesis that shade would decrease the effects of drought stress on two warm-season turfgrasses: common bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers ‘Celebration’] and hybrid bermudagrass (C. dactylon x C. transvaalensis ‘Latitude 36’). Grasses were established from washed sod in 45cm deep by 10cm diameter pots filled with a 1:1 top soil: sand rootzone and clipped weekly to a height of 5 cm. The experiment was arranged as a randomized complete block modified split plot design where light quantity was the whole main plot, while genotype and irrigation factors were randomized within light treatments. Low light and high light treatments were applied using a black shade fabric (nominal 40% shade) or supplemental lighting (high pressure sodium), respectively. Irrigation was applied twice per week by hand with treatments being well-watered (100% ET) or drought-stressed (50% ET). After 9 months under ambient conditions, light treatments were implemented for a 9-week period with irrigation treatments initiated 2 weeks after shade treatment. Normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and gross photosynthesis rate were measured weekly while leaf relative water content was measured bi-weekly. Also, electrolyte leakage was measured four times at 0, 4, 6 and 8 weeks. Results from two repeated experiments will be discussed.
    • Huanyun Duan, 14, OSU Graduate Student
      Inorganic N and P Exports from Overseeded and Non-Overseeded Turf
      • Turfgrasses are highly competitive for soil nitrate and fertilizer applications made during the growing season typically do not result in significant nutrient losses from turf sites. However, recent reports suggest winter and early spring nutrient losses from warm-season turfgrasses can be important due to decreased plant activity and potential for soil mineralization during brief warming periods. A field study was conducted to test whether winter overseeding with perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) could reduce seasonal nutrient losses from common bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] fairway turf. The study was conducted on an existing runoff research facility in Stillwater, OK having a 0.05 m m-1 slope and automated flow measurement and sampling equipment. Runoff flow volume as well as nitrate-N, ammonium-N, and total dissolved P concentrations were measured in runoff samples collected from monthly irrigation excess events. Results from the first year suggest nitrate-N concentrations in runoff were low (< 1 mg L-1). However, on several dates in the early spring, overseeding decreased nitrate-N compared to non-overseeded controls. Total dissolved P was largely unaffected by treatment although there is some evidence that winter total dissolved P concentrations were similarly decreased by overseeding. An additional year of data is needed to confirm these findings.
    • Derrick Nguyen, 15, OU Graduate Student
      Evaluation of Various Reactive Media for Bioretention Cell Design Considerations
      • Runoff is excess stormwater, which results from precipitation that falls on impervious surfaces or permeable surfaces, which have reached water absorption capacity. Increased usage of impervious surfaces in urban development and traditional stormwater management have resulted in increased runoff volumes. Water quality degradation of receiving lakes or rivers are regularly associated with increasing urban development. Runoff carries surface pollutants, such as total suspended solids (TSS), metals and nutrients. TSS sources include bank erosion and construction sites. Sources of major metals, such as copper (Cu), lead (Pb), and zinc (Zn), are typically automobiles and buildings. Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) nutrients are contributed by fertilizers, pet waste, and vegetative litter. Low impact development best management practices (LID BMPs) are alternative approaches to stormwater management, which are designed to capture stormwater to decrease runoff volumes and improve water quality. Bioretention cells are an LID BMP commonly used to capture and treat stormwater using a constructed system that includes a vegetated layer, a treatment soil layer, and drainage. commonly via perforated piping. Poor design practices often result in organic-rich media, which leads to nutrient export. Common sandy media generally perform well at filtering TSS and particulate forms of pollutants. However, dissolved fractions are still an issue. To address the dissolved fractions of Cu, Pb, Zn, N, and P, various reactive media are proposed: Class C fly ash, iron oxyhydroxide mine drainage residuals (MDRs), APTsorb, and bioAPT. The pollutant removal performance of the proposed media was evaluated based on net change in pollutant concentrations in synthetic stormwater, pumped upward through laboratory treatment columns. Synthetic stormwater was spiked to have concentrations of nitrate (NO3-) at 1.2 mg/L as N, orthophosphate (PO4-) at 0.25 mg/L, Cu2+ at 13 µg/L, Pb2+ at 15 µg/L, and Zn2+ at 85 µg/L. Pollutant removal performance was compared against well-graded sand as the control group. APTsorb and bioAPT are commercially available granulated and hardened organic materials based on harvested and processed peat from American Peat Technology (APT). Class C fly ash was supplied by the Grand River Energy Center and the MDRs were harvested and dried from the Mayer Ranch passive treatment system. The proposed materials have been used to varying degrees in wastewater treatment. Fly ash was used for comparative purposes because it has been studied in field-scale bioretention cells constructed in Oklahoma, with success in trace metals and P retention. MDRs and the APT granulated peat products have been used in mine water discharge treatment designs with successful trace metals removal, with the addition of P removal using MDRs. Because fly ash and MDRs have poor hydraulic conductivity, they were used to amend well-graded sand at five-percent and 7.5-percent ratios, respectively. Amendment ratios were selected by measuring the hydraulic conductivity of series of various ratios of sand-amendment mixtures, requiring a minimum hydraulic conductivity of 2.54 centimeters per hour for adequate drainage. The results from this study will provide recommendations for the potential use of fly ash, MDRs, APTsorb, and bioAPT in bioretention cell designs.
    • Tracy Boyer, 17, OSU Associate Professor
      Oklahoma Water Calculator Decision Tool
      • The historic 5 year drought that hit Oklahoma and ended in 2015 stressed the ability of many water utilities to provide water to their communities. Having cycles of drought interspersed with relative abundance, Oklahomans may not be familiar with the ways in which they may conserve water (Boyer et al. 2015). The Oklahoma Water Calculator is a web based decision tool that allows individuals to estimate their domestic water usage by activity. By selecting the community in which the household is located, the user is able to estimate the approximate cost of water monthly. The tool then calculates the monthly savings that would occur if the household were to reduce water use by 10%. By using the tool users become cognizant of the relative amounts used in each activity and could back out the savings represented by reducing use or by adoption of water conserving or water sense features. Users are also directed toward EPA watersense information and water conservation factsheets available at Oklahoma State Extension.
    • Amy Sikora, 18, OU Graduate Student
      Soil Trace Metals Concentrations in A Mining Impacted Agricultural Watershed
      • The Elm Creek watershed, located in Ottawa County in northeastern Oklahoma, is situated to the west and south of the Tar Creek Superfund Site, part of the historic Tri-State Lead-Zinc Mining District. Trace metals contamination has been documented in Elm Creek. However, questions remain about broader impacts in the Elm Creek watershed. Elm Creek watershed properties purchased by the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA), a public power provider, are designated to be used as offsite mitigation for fish and wildlife impacts under the Pensacola Dam hydropower license under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Surface soil samples were taken from the site to evaluate lead, zinc, cadmium, and other metals concentrations to allow estimation of ecotoxic risk. Samples were obtained from Elm Creek stream terraces and upland environments. Moisture content, loss-on-ignition, and particle size for each sample were determined. Three metals analysis protocols were compared. A handheld field portable x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer was used in-situ for analysis of metals concentrations (USEPA Method 6020). Collected samples were homogenized and pulverized in the laboratory and re-tested using the field portable XRF. Samples were also analyzed for metals via microwave-assisted hot HNO3 digestion (EPA 3051) followed by inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) analyses (EPA 6010). The results of this study will influence long-term land use in the watershed.
    • Zepei Tang, 19, OU Graduate Student
      Phosphorus, Iron and Trace Metal Interactions at the Sediment-Water Interface: The Role of Recovered Mine Drainage Residuals
      • In this research, the goal was to understand the nutrient and metal cycling processes at the sediment layer-water column interface in a large terminal reservoir, with impacts from various environmental parameters (such as algae blooms and mixing) and to investigate the feasibility to use recovered mine drainage residuals (MDRs) for phosphorus (P) release control. The study site was the Grand Lake o' the Cherokees, Oklahoma, as it has both elevated metals concentrations from the Tri-State Lead-Zinc Mining District and elevated nutrient concentrations from agriculture run-off, resulting in eutrophication and substantial algae blooms. There are three hypotheses: 1) algae blooms impact P distribution between the water column and sediments; 2) mixing/bioturbation can increase P concentrations in the water column and decrease the net P sink in sediment; 3) MDRs can perform as P-sorbing products to decrease bioavailable P concentrations in the water column. Field characterization studies have been done to collect in-situ water quality data (pH, DO, SC, T, turbidity, alkalinity, etc.) as well as water and sediment samples for nutrient and trace metal analyses. A laboratory bench-top preliminary experiment was designed to identify the ideal MDR type, dose and reaction time for optimal P-sorbtion performance. A greenhouse microcosm experiments will test different control parameters on P distribution in the system. A pond mesocosm experiment will examine the pilot-scale feasibility of MDR ins real-world condition. It is expected that the results will show that MDRs can be used to control P release in the water column; therefore, future engineering designs can be provided for addressing eutrophication in lakes.
    • Julie McDonald, 20, UT Undergraduate Student
      Impact of climatologic factors on the airborne lead in northeastern Oklahoma
      • Picher, Oklahoma is home to the Tar Creek Superfund site, which is part of the Tri-State mining district. The mines were in production from 1850 to 1950. One hundred years of production has left numerous chat piles on the surrounding environment directly affecting the town of Picher. One such byproduct of the mining includes lead (Pb) dust that have been transported around the town settling throughout and seeped into groundwater, lakes, ponds and rivers. Due to the contamination, many children in the area have elevated Pb levels in their bodies, which have led to learning disabilities and other problems. While numerous efforts have focused on the contamination of heavy metals in surface water and groundwater systems, no studies have investigated the addition of Pb via atmospheric dust and deposition to the aquatic environment. We collected data for atmospheric dust containing Pb from 2010 to 2016 in both Tulsa, Oklahoma and Picher, Oklahoma as well as precipitation data for these two locations. During our study of atmospheric dust for Pb, we found a temporal correlation between atmospheric concentration of Pb and precipitation. This was seen in annual patterns in both locations in graphs.
    • Kyle Rennell, 21, USGS Hydrologist
      Use of an ambient-seismic data-collection method for determining thickness of an unconsolidated alluvial aquifer
      • Knowledge of the depths of contacts between unconsolidated alluvial sediments and underlying bedrock is integral in determining groundwater storage and aquifer transmissivity of alluvial aquifers. Methods for determining depth to bedrock include direct-push drilling, water well drilling logs, electrical resistivity measurements, and various seismic techniques. The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) Oklahoma Water Science Center (OKWSC), in cooperation with the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, used ambient-seismic equipment to collect stratigraphic data for a recent (2017) modeling study of the Salt Fork Red River aquifer. This equipment allows for noninvasive and rapid data collection, reducing project field time. The ambient seismic equipment used was a Tromino digital tromograph developed by Moho Science & Technology. The tromograph uses horizontal to vertical spectral ratios (HVSR) of ambient seismicity produced by natural and anthropogenic processes such as ocean waves, wind, and traffic. Waves recorded on two horizontal axes and one vertical axis produce a ratio that can be used to determine the resonance frequency of contacts between unconsolidated sediment and bedrock. From these data, calculations can be done to determine depth to bedrock, producing accurate cross-sectional representations of aquifer thickness. This poster compares several different approaches used in determining bedrock depth and illustrates the capabilities of tromographic analyses for characterizing thickness of an alluvial aquifer.
    • John Ellis, 22, U.S. Geological Survey Hydrologist
      Ten Years of U.S. Geological Survey Groundwater Modeling Studies in Oklahoma, 2011-2020
      • As demand and competition for water resources increases, groundwater models become increasingly important tools for solving complex scientific problems related to groundwater flow and availability in aquifers. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) performs computer simulations of hydrologic systems using MODFLOW — the USGS's modular, three-dimensional, finite-difference, numerical groundwater-modeling code. MODFLOW is considered an international standard for simulating and predicting groundwater conditions and groundwater/surface-water interactions. Originally developed and released solely as a groundwater-flow simulation code in 1984, MODFLOW's modular structure has provided a robust framework for integration of additional simulation capabilities that build on and enhance its original scope. The family of MODFLOW-related programs now includes capabilities to simulate: coupled groundwater/surface-water systems, solute transport, variable-density flow (including saltwater), aquifer-system compaction and land subsidence, parameter estimation, and groundwater management. This code is currently being used to simulate groundwater/surface-water interaction, quantify groundwater resources, and evaluate the effects of withdrawals on future groundwater supplies for various aquifers in Oklahoma.
        The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has performed groundwater modeling studies in cooperation with the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Osage Nation, and Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Results of these modeling studies and analyses provide information needed by decision-makers for planning and management of water resources for aquifer systems across Oklahoma.
    • David Lampert, 23, OSU Assistant Professor
      Software Tools for Automating the Development of High Resolution Hydrologic Models
      • Watershed models such as the Hydrological Simulation Program in Fortran (HSPF) are used extensively for the assessment of water quantity and water quality issues including droughts, flooding, nutrients, and total maximum daily loads of pollutants. Such models rely on extensive data including streamflow, climatology, land use, and hydrography to simulate water budgets and pollutant concentrations throughout a study area. The construction of a watershed model is a difficult and time-consuming process as it requires compilation of extensive quantities of data into formatted files followed by a simultaneous fitting of many uncertain parameters. Because of these complications, studies are often limited to calibration periods of only a few years even when analyzing long time-scale issues such as climate and land use changes and are difficult or impossible to reproduce. Public data sources are readily available online, but integration into a consistent form is a time-consuming and inefficient process. Advances in the development of free and open source software tools and availability of online data create opportunities to automatically gather, process and aggregate data needed to answer water resources questions. This presentation will discuss a completely open-source Python packages that gathers hydrologic data from sources including from the internet and uses it to automate the construction of a watershed model.

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student behind the scenes.jpg

Tuesday, 10/31, 2:00-3:00

Session 2: Irrigation Water Use Efficiency (Moderator: Jorden Foster, OK Dept. of Ag, Food, and Forestry)

  • Jennifer Koch, OU Assistant Professor
    The Oklahoma City ENVISION Model: Linking Land Management, Water Use, and Human Well-Being
    • Oklahoma's highly variable weather and large precipitation gradient work together with population growth and resulting urban expansion to create a diverse landscape that is extremely vulnerable to climatic extremes. As shown by the prolonged drought in 2011-2013, Oklahoma's municipal water supply has come under stress due to additional demand. To develop sustainable natural resource supplies that support a vibrant economy with healthy and productive citizens, we need to develop robust knowledge about the complex relationships in coupled social and ecological systems, which can be used to empower city planners and other decision makers to effectively adapt to climate variability and climate change. In order to improve our understanding of this complex system, we have been developing a spatio-temporal, integrated socio-ecological systems model for the Oklahoma City Metropolitan area. The model helps elucidating the relationship between climate, urban development, domestic water use, and cover/condition of vegetation. To date, some of our major outcomes are the development of sub-models to determine spatio-temporal development patterns and an understanding of the factors driving household water use and landscape greenness. These intermediate results have already led to an improved understanding of the system under study. For example, we initially expected that landscape greenness, reflecting both vegetation cover and condition, would be strongly influenced by household water use (capturing irrigation), which would allow the landscape to be buffered against drought and other climate stress. Contrary to this expectation, we have found that climate, particularly precipitation and temperature are much more important drivers of vegetation greenness. However, characteristics of land parcels, such as parcel size and house age, are also major determinants of vegetation cover. Overall, we have found that human and natural drivers interact in unexpected ways to influence water use by households and consequent landscape characteristics. In this talk, we will describe our approach to combining our findings and the different sub-models into one spatio-temporal simulation model making use of the ENVISION multi-paradigm modeling framework. We will furthermore introduce how model development, scenario development, as well as alternative future scenario simulations can be documented and visualized in form of story maps and how the model and the story maps may help effective decision support.
  • Sumit Sharma, OSU Postdoctoral Research Associate
    Sub-Surface Drip Irrigation: Impact of Management and Crop Selection on Soil Water Dynamics
    • A subsurface drip irrigation study was established for corn and grain sorghum in the Oklahoma Panhandle Research and Extension Center, Goodwell, OK. The objective of this study was to develop an understanding of soil water dynamics around subsurface drip irrigation is influenced by management and crop selection, and its impact on crop yields. The working hypothesis was that less frequent but larger irrigation events would increase the depth of soil water extraction. The irrigation treatments included irrigation application of 0.35 inch/day and 1.05 inch every fourth day in grain sorghum. Irrigation strategy in corn included 0.35 inches every day, 1.05 inch every 4th day, 0.27 inch every day, and 0.8 inch every 4th day. The preliminary data shows that in grain sorghum, less frequent irrigation strategy resulted in greater water extraction and consequently drier soil profile. In corn, the treatment with irrigation supply of 1.05 inches every 4th day showed wettest profile conditions in comparison to other treatments. The relatively drier soil profiles in certain irrigation treatments could be attributed to rapid crop growth in these treatments. Yield data from these treatments will help better understand these differences among the treatments. The crops have not been harvested yet, as they have not attained the physiological maturity. Further analysis will be presented at the symposium.
  • Sumon Datta, OSU Graduate Student
    Performance Evaluation of Soil Moisture Sensors Under Field Condition
    • Irrigated agriculture is a major contributor to the economy of Oklahoma and plays a vital role in supplying the demand in food, feed, and fiber utilizing the State’s limited water resources. A sizable portion (41%) of total water withdrawals in Oklahoma goes to crop irrigation, making it a prime consumer of water. The demand for irrigation water in agriculture is expected to increase 20% by 2060 in Oklahoma. To meet with this increasing demand, water conservation in irrigated agriculture in Oklahoma through improving irrigation management should be a top priority. Irrigation management can be optimized by implementing several smart technologies to assist with perform a precise irrigation scheduling. This study will focus on one of the promising methods: use of soil water sensors. Currently, only 11% of Oklahoma growers use soil water sensors to schedule irrigations, whereas, this number is 23% for Nebraska and 17% for California. Thus, there is an enormous potential for improving irrigation management using soil water sensors. The main objective of this study was to investigate how soil water sensors can be used under variable soil types of Oklahoma. To achieve this, four commercially available soil water sensors were selected and installed at two agricultural fields with different soil textures, salinity levels, irrigation systems, and crops. Hourly soil water content (SWC) data were collected during the growing season and included a wide range of values. Undisturbed soil samples were taken at each field to determine the hydraulic properties of soil and to obtain reference SWC estimates. Rain gages were also installed to record irrigation/precipitation depths and timing. The readings of sensors were compared against each other and the reference SWC estimates and were analyzed in conjunction with irrigation management practices to optimize irrigation scheduling.
  • Sheyda Chamaki, OSU Graduate Student
    Soil Salinity Variations in an Irrigation Scheme in Southwest Oklahoma during a Period of Extreme Dry and Wet Cycles
    • Salinity is one of the most important environmental factors impacting the agricultural productivity. Impact of salinization on irrigated land is increasing day by day. On the other hand, we are facing more frequent extreme wet and dry climatic cycles. In order to sustain agricultural productivity to feed ever-increasing food demand, it is important to study effect of extreme precipitation and drought on soil salinity, which directly affects crop productivity.
      In this study, soil salinity levels in terms of electrical conductivity (EC) were measured from top 1.5 m of the soil in 20 locations in Lugert Altus Irrigation District (LAID) located in Southwest Oklahoma. Sampling were conducted in two times of 2007, before an elevated drought period, and 2016 after a year of elevated precipitation proceeding a drought period. The comparison of the median soil profile EC revealed that the elevated precipitation was able to decrease EC to the initial amounts before drought. However, the salts were leached down to the deeper soil levels (deeper than 0.9 m) in 2016 as compared to 2007. The same leaching effect was observed in analysis of sodium, calcium, boron but with different intensity. Shallow soil samples taken in 2015, revealed that elevated precipitation in 2016 had leached salts down the root zone, which was in accordance with the deep samplings results.

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Wednesday, 11/1, 10:30-12:00

Session 3a: Role of University Water Centers and Institutes (Moderator: Jean Steiner, USDA Agricultural Research Service)

  • Kevin Wagner, Oklahoma Water Resources Center (OSU)
    • Established in 1965, the Oklahoma Water Resources Center is one of 54 institutes/centers in the U.S. and a member of the National Institutes for Water Resources. Located at Oklahoma State University, the Center helps resolve water issues and secure Oklahoma's water future by sponsoring research and disseminating the knowledge that results from it.
      Learn more about our Center at water.okstate.edu/about.
  • Jason Vogel, Oklahoma Water Survey (OU)
    • The Oklahoma Water Survey serves as the focal point and catalyst for the University of Oklahoma’s wide and deep expertise in research, outreach, and education in water topics. With core foci in the areas of monitoring, outreach, research, and education, the mission of the Oklahoma Water Survey is to study the state’s water resources and to collect, analyze, interpret and disseminate research-based information about the water issues facing our state.
  • Guy Sewell, Oka' Institute (ECU)
    • The mission of The Oka’ Institute is to address Oklahoma’s water resource needs through sustainable water resource management strategies that address real world demands. This includes a commitment to public and professional education, a recognition of the economic development opportunities and implications of water resources, and the creation of scientifically defensible and equitable, best practices for water resource management.
      Visit www.ecok.edu/oka-institute.
  • David Sabatini, Water Technologies for Emerging Regions (WaTER) Center (OU)
    • The University of Oklahoma WaTER Center aims to promote peace by advancing health, education and economic development through sustainable water and sanitation solutions for impoverished regions.
      Visit www.ou.edu/coe/centers/water.html.

Session 3b: Federal & State Programs to Support Water Management in Oklahoma (Moderator: Jean Steiner, USDA Agricultural Research Service)

  • Donald Cline, USGS Water Mission Area Associate Director
    USGS Water Mission Area
    • The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) monitors and assesses the amount and characteristics of the nation's water resources; assesses sources and behavior of contaminants in the water environment; and develops tools to improve management and understanding of water resources. As the primary Federal science agency for water information, the USGS provides data on streamflow, reservoirs, and lakes; groundwater; water use; and water-quality data. In May 2017, the USGS released a report on brackish groundwater that will assist water infrastructure decision makers in determining the viability of using this substantial resource for drinking water, irrigation, and mining, among many other uses. With increasing droughts, Oklahoma water managers need to know if brackish groundwater can be a supplemental resource to the limited freshwater available. The USGS is conducting a focus area study on the Red River Basin in Oklahoma to assess water availability due to water concerns, conflicts, and increasing demands to meet the Red River Compact. In addition, the USGS is working nationwide to evaluate aquifer storage and recovery in areas, such as Oklahoma, that have an increasing demand for water. This presentation will provide updates from our USGS Water activities in Oklahoma including the Red River Focus Study, Saline Water Characterization, and Aquifer Storage and Recovery Work.
  • Larry Roach, Guernsey Engineering & Environmental Group Water Resources Program Manager
    Never Met an Oklahoma Water Future I Didn't Like
    • Water resources planning in Oklahoma has a long and storied history. This history is articulated by Larry Roach to reflect a timeline from 1949 (Larry's birth year) to the present, and recounting this water history in context with other national/world historic events. The presentation highlights significant water-related events and laws/regulations throughout the time period from 1949 to the present. Regarding Oklahoma, the focus is on various milestones and events involving politicians/innovators, national personalities/events, Oklahoma cyclic events related to rainfall and drought, opportunities for improved water resources activities, the impact of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and the planning that has occurred, the current opportunities regarding reuse of wastewater, and a summary of other events and activities that are a significant part of the Oklahoma water resources landscape.

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Wednesday, 11/1, Lunch Session

Wednesday, 11/1, 2:00-3:00

Session 4: Surface Water Assessment & Management (Moderator: Shanon Phillips, Oklahoma Conservation Commission)

  • Steven Patterson, Bio x Design Restoration Ecologist
    Lake Wister 2017: Progress and Prospects
    • In the late 1990's and early 2000's, Lake Wister in eastern Oklahoma experienced three years of spectacular lake-wide phytoplankton (probably cyanobacterial) blooms. Water quality in the 6,300-acre flood control, recreation, and water supply reservoir was perceived to have deteriorated to the extent that some officials suggested the reservoir be abandoned, rather than effort made to improve it. However, those worst-case conditions have not returned over the last 12 years, even as cyanobacterial blooms have become frequent at other reservoirs in the state. Nutrient input to watershed soils and streams has declined, though loads to the lake have not. The Poteau Valley Improvement Authority (PVIA), the regional water supply agency drawing its supply from Lake Wister, initiated a new routine monitoring program in late 2010 which has led to a significantly improved understanding of actual conditions in the lake (as opposed to opinion) and of the processes that create those conditions. The first five years of this data became the basis for a new lake model, recently completed. The model, the improved understanding, and the ongoing monitoring of conditions and inputs provide the basis for a positive outlook and for a new effort of watershed and in-lake restoration action. Ongoing, persistent work will be required to improve water quality in the lake, but with that work, there is every reason to think that water quality can and will continue to improve. Lake history, monitoring data, and modeling results will be reviewed and water quality prospects examined in light of statewide and global trends.
  • Abubakarr Mansaray, OSU Graduate Student
    Using Earth Observation Satellites to Map Algal Biomass in the Grand Lake Watershed
    • Advances in the availability of satellite remote sensing systems and the understanding of their benefits and limitations provide the potential to assist in overcoming challenges of water quality monitoring in inland waters. Combining remotely sensed data with water quality data and delineating the underlying mechanisms is an active area of scientific research with many gaps. In the Grand Lake watershed, monitoring of reservoirs face frequency and spatial challenges posing the risk of erratic algal blooms at non-sampling space and time. This research is part of a current modeling exercise to determine the magnitude and spatial extent of water quality over time in the reservoirs in Grand Lake watershed using Earth Observation satellites. The objective is to develop algorithms as codes for mapping algal biomass in Grand Lake O' the Cherokees in Oklahoma and Marion, John Redmond, and Council Grove Lakes in Kansas. This research collects In-situ chlorophyll measurements at spatially coincident sample locations and temporally coincident with satellite over passes. Visible (RGB) and infrared (IR) bands will combine with in-situ algal pigment concentrations for input into the algorithms. The satellite images are downloaded in GeoTIFF format and subjected to image processing routines that this research is developing. The modeling tool will support monitoring priorities for lake managers in the watershed.
  • Adrienne Wootten, OU Postdoctoral Research Associate
    Future Projections of Rainfall Extremes and Drought in Oklahoma
    • Drought events are known to have significant impacts to the water resources, agriculture, and wildfire management across the state of Oklahoma. For instance, the 2011 and 2012 drought in Oklahoma led to an estimate $2 billion in losses across the state. In addition to droughts, heavy rainfall events leading to flooding have also had an impact on lives and property in the past. One such event was the May 2015 rainfall in Texas and Oklahoma. That event effectively ended the drought of prior years, but also resulted in an estimated $2.6 billion in damage led to and 31 deaths. Given the past impact and the potential future changes, this project at the South Central Climate Science in partnership with the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory is beginning to produce projections which allow the potential future change in climate variables related to drought and flooding events. The finished collection of projections will include information from a range of global climate models, emissions scenarios, and downscaling techniques. This presentation will discuss the preliminary results from the first set of available projections of future change in climate variables related to drought and flooding events. These results suggest an increase in heavy rain events when they occur and a decrease in the overall number of rain days by the middle of the century for Oklahoma. In addition to discussing these results, the presentation will discuss future plans for upcoming sets of projections, the appropriate uses of the projections, and available guidance and lessons for users from the currently available set of projections.
  • David Lampert, OSU Assistant Professor
    Future Flood Risks Associated with Climate Change to Infrastructure
    • On May 6, 2015, 7 inches of rainfall were reported in Oklahoma City, resulting in the first flash flood emergency ever issued in the area. Extreme flooding events such as the May 2015 storms pose a number of risks to infrastructure as demonstrated by the recent events surrounding Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Climate change will affect both the mean and variance in temperature and precipitation patterns and thus presents emerging risks of flood inundation to critical infrastructure. The recent past indicates a slight increase in mean precipitation in Oklahoma, but the trend in heavy precipitation and flooding events across Oklahoma is large, with a nearly 15%-20% increase in the heaviest 1% of all rainfall events. Under future climate change, the frequency of heavy rain events across Oklahoma is projected to increase 10-30% by the mid-21st century relative to today. Extreme events such as the May 2015 rains will become more common. Stormwater designs today aiming to withstand a single 100-year flood today may be at risk of failure by 2050. There is a critical need to address the consequences of environmental changes that are predicted to create more extreme rainfall events in the future. To analyze these impacts on the Oklahoma City area, a hydrologic model was developed using the Storm Water Management Model (SWMM) for the Arcadia Lake Watershed surrounding Edmond, OK. Future rainfall events for the area were determined by downscaled global climate models, which were then used with the SWMM model to forecast the response of the current hydraulic infrastructure to future storms. Simulating the effects of future rainfall events on the current infrastructure in the OKC area provides key insight into mechanisms to mitigate flood impacts in the future.

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Wednesday, 11/1, 3:30-5:00

Session 5: Groundwater Hydrologic Evaluations (Moderator: Kevin Wagner, Oklahoma Water Resources Center)

  • Derrick Wagner, Oklahoma Water Resources Board Water Resources Geologist
    Hydrologic Investigation Report of the Elk City Sandstone Aquifer in West Oklahoma
    • The Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) has been working on a multiyear hydrogeologic study of the Elk City Sandstone aquifer in western Oklahoma, expected to be complete by the end of 2017. This project is remapping the aquifer boundaries, creating new maps of the water table elevation, base of the aquifer, and saturated thickness, estimating important aquifer properties including hydraulic conductivity, transmissivity, specific yield, recharge, and analyzing groundwater use and climate data. The Elk City Sandstone aquifer is a major aquifer that underlies 518 square miles in portions of Beckham, Custer, Roger Mills, and Washita Counties. The Permian-age Elk City Formation is the major water-bearing unit in the aquifer, along with some overlying Quaternary sands and gravels. The Ogallala-Roger Mills aquifer, comprised of the Pliocene Ogallala Formation, overlies parts of the northwestern Elk City aquifer in areas where land owners utilize both aquifers. There are approximately 1,500 reported groundwater wells drilled into the Elk City aquifer and this project has measured water levels in 155 wells, which were used to create a new water table elevation map that shows groundwater flowing predominantly from the northwest to the southeast. Nine continuous recorders were installed in wells throughout the aquifer that take depth to water measurements every hour. The saturated thickness of the Elk City aquifer ranges from 0 feet along the aquifer boundary to 268 feet in the central portion of the aquifer west of Elk City, Oklahoma. The mean saturated thickness was 63 feet.  Hydraulic conductivity of the aquifer was estimated using slug tests at 38 sites, 135 single well pumping tests, and a percent sand analysis of 1,747 driller's well logs, with an average value of 4.1 ft/day for the slug tests and 3.5 ft/day for the single well tests, and 14.7 ft/day for the percent sand analysis. Specific yield was estimated using a combination of monthly depth to water measurements in three subsurface watershed basins:  Buffalo Creek; Little Elk Creek; and Trail Creek, along with baseflow measurements calculated using the computer program PART from streamflow data collected from gauges installed by the OWRB for this study. In months with little to precipitation and water use, the aquifer would drain to the streams as baseflow and the volume of the aquifer drained could be compared to the volume of baseflow to estimate specific yield, which was estimated to range between 0.07 and 0.09 in the three basins. A surface water synoptic measurement of streams draining the aquifer was completed in February 2017 which investigated 67 sites on 21 streams and took measurements using a FlowTracker device. The results showed that most of the streams gained in flow downstream and were in communication with the aquifer.  Recharge was estimated using the soil water balance (SWB) code as well as the water table fluctuation method (WTF).  Using land use types and precipitation data from 10 Cooperative Observer Network (COOP) and four Mesonet weather stations, recharge from the SWB code was estimated to be 1.25 inches per year. The WTF method was used at two sites with continuous water level recorders taking depth to water measurements every hour and recharge was estimated at 10.7 inches and 1.8 inches in each well for the year 2016.  Climate data from the COOP and Mesonet stations showed an average annual precipitation of 24.5 inches per year from 1924-2015, with annual values ranging between 10 and 40 inches, several periods of drought were identified along with periods of above average precipitation. Groundwater use data from 184 groundwater permits in the Elk City Sandstone aquifer were analyzed from 1967-2015 and ranged from 900-5,031 acre-feet per year, with a mean of 2,003 acre-feet.  The largest water use type was public water supply at 47.3% followed by irrigation at 41.8%.  The OWRB Groundwater Monitoring and Assessment Program sampled 14 sites in the aquifer. The sampled groundwater had a mean TDS of 361 mg/L, ranging between 361-478 mg/L, and is considered to be good drinking water. The groundwater was plotted on a Piper and Stiff diagrams and all were found to be bicarbonate type.  No samples contained contaminants with concentrations above EPA maximum contaminant levels.
  • Kyle Spears, Oklahoma Water Resources Board Water Resources Geologist
    Hydrogeophysical Evaluation of the Washita Alluvium and Terrace Aquifer
    • Aquifers comprised of alluvium and terrace deposits from major rivers and streams are often an important source of water for industries and municipalities in the region. To best manage and protect this economically viable resource, a more comprehensive evaluation of these systems is needed.  Electrical Resistivity Imaging (ERI) was used to image the subsurface architecture of alluvium and terrace deposits laid down by the Washita River through Roger Mills and Custer counties in western Oklahoma. This non-invasive geophysical method provides high resolution and spatially continuous data in a wide variety of field conditions. This technique was applied to evaluate the subsurface architecture of the Quaternary alluvium deposits, and describe general hydraulic properties of the aquifer. The Washita Alluvium and Terrace aquifer overlies Permian-age rock formations composed of primarily red shale, siltstone, sandstone and discontinuous evaporite beds forming a boundary detectable by ERI. The images collected in this study range from 0.8-1.9 km in length and 66-110 m in depth. A previously unknown groundwater channel, over 100 m deep in some locations, was detected in each of the four datasets collected. The subsurface groundwater channel varies in width congruently to the width of the alluvium deposits at the surface. The discovery of this deeper component of the aquifer demonstrates interpretations of these systems through traditional methods such as correlating borehole information can miss important features due to lack of spatially continuous information.
  • Jad Ziolkowska, OU Assistant Professor
    Impact of Soil Moisture on Groundwater Levels in Oklahoma - Explanatory and Predictive Analysis of Regional Drought (project website linked here)
    • For the past decade, severe and exceptional droughts in Oklahoma have considerably impacted water availability across the state. As a result of economic losses in many sectors, especially agriculture, the question of irrigation profitability and value of water became an important research and decision-making problem.
      In the current situation of diminishing water availability in Oklahoma's aquifers, approaches are still rare to holistically analyze and predict impacts of future droughts on groundwater resources, and consequently on profitability of agricultural production systems.
      This paper aims to provide answers to this limitation by means of a comprehensive regional and statewide statistical analysis for each of the nine climate regions in Oklahoma in the time span 2003-2014. Based on the data from the USGS, the Drought Mitigation Center, and Oklahoma Mesonet we developed statistical and geospatial models to evaluate impacts of soil moisture conditions on groundwater levels in all climate regions across Oklahoma. The results can further be used to predict those changes into the future across the state.
      This research provides relevant results for future applications through the models' predictive feature of the degree, scope, and temporal impacts of drought on groundwater resources as well as through geospatial visualization of those changes. Thus, the research outcomes can provide useful information for decision-support to multiple groups (e.g., farmers, stakeholders, decision-makers, and water managers). The results can also support decisions on efficient agricultural production and sustainable water allocation in situations of water scarcity.
  • John Ellis, U.S. Geological Survey Hydrologist
    Results from the Canadian River Alluvial Aquifer Study: Simulation of Groundwater Flow and Analysis of Projected Water Use
    • The U.S. Geological Survey Oklahoma Water Science Center, in cooperation with the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, conducted a hydrologic investigation and developed numerical groundwater-flow models of the Canadian River alluvial aquifer. The Canadian River alluvial aquifer is a surficial aquifer consisting of unconsolidated Quaternary-age alluvium and terrace deposits adjoining the Canadian River. Results from the hydrologic investigation and model simulations will be used by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to evaluate and manage the allocation of water rights for the Canadian River alluvial aquifer.
      The study (1) quantified the groundwater resources of the Canadian River alluvial aquifer by developing a conceptual model, (2) summarized the general water quality of the Canadian River alluvial aquifer groundwater by using data collected during August and September 2013, (3) evaluated the effects of estimated equal proportionate share (EPS) on aquifer storage and streamflow for time periods of 20, 40, and 50 years into the future by using numerical groundwater-flow models, and (4) evaluated the effects of present-day groundwater pumping over a 50-year period and sustained hypothetical drought conditions over a 10-year period on stream base flow and groundwater in storage by using numerical flow models.
      Spatially-distributed recharge to the Canadian River alluvial aquifer was estimated by using a soil-water-balance code. By using daily precipitation and temperature data from 39 climate stations, recharge was estimated to average 3.4 inches/year, which corresponds to 8.7 percent of precipitation as recharge during the study period (1981–2013). When multiplied by the area of the watershed and averaged over this study period, annual average recharge was 110,925 acre feet.
         Water quality in the Canadian River alluvial aquifer was evaluated through summary of data from 31 samples. Most of the samples met primary drinking-water standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but 5 samples contained nitrate-nitrogen concentrations that exceeded the primary drinking-water standard of 10 milligrams/liter. Changes in water types, from calcium-magnesium-sulfate-chloride in the western part, to calcium-magnesium-bicarbonate towards the central part of the aquifer, indicated interaction of groundwater between local bedrock units and the alluvial aquifer.
      Groundwater flow in the Canadian River alluvial aquifer was identified and quantified by a conceptual flow model for the study period. Inflows to the Canadian River alluvial aquifer include recharge to the water table from precipitation, lateral flow from the surrounding bedrock, and flow from the Canadian River, whereas outflows include flow to the Canadian River (base-flow gain), evapotranspiration, and groundwater use.
      The 1973 Oklahoma Water Law requires hydrologic surveys of the state's aquifers to determine the amount of water that may be allocated to each acre of land overlying each groundwater basin, or EPS. The EPS pumping rate ranged from 1.35 (acre-feet/acre)/year to 3.08 (acre-feet/acre)/year for a 20-year period. For the 40- and 50-year periods, the EPS rate ranged from 1.34 (acre-feet/acre)/year to 3.08 (acre-feet/acre)/year. Storage changes decreased in tandem with simulated groundwater pumping and were minimal after the first 15 simulated years for Reach I and the first 8 simulated years for Reach II.
      Groundwater pumping at year 2013 rates for a period of 50 years resulted in 0.2-percent to 0.6-percent decrease in the groundwater-storage volumes. A sustained drought scenario was used to evaluate the effects of a hypothetical 10-year drought on water availability. A 10-year period was chosen where the effects of drought conditions would be simulated by decreasing recharge by 75 percent. Average simulated stream base flow at the Bridgeport streamgage (07228500) decreased by 58 percent compared to average simulated stream base flow during the nondrought period. Average simulated stream base flows at the Purcell streamgage (07229200) and Calvin streamgage (07231500) decreased by 64 percent and 54 percent, respectively. The groundwater-storage drought scenario resulted in a storage decline of 30 thousand to 71 thousand acre-feet, or an average decline in the water table of 1.2 to 2.0 feet.
  • Jerrod Smith, U.S. Geological Survey
    Hydrogeology and Simulation of Groundwater Flow and Availability in the North Fork Red River Aquifer, Oklahoma, 1980-2013
    • In 1981 the Oklahoma Water Resources Board established a maximum annual yield (MAY; 343,042 acre-feet per year) and equal-proportionate-share (EPS) pumping rate (1.0 acre-foot per acre per year) for the North Fork Red River aquifer. Every 20 years, the Oklahoma Water Resources Board is statutorily required to update the hydrologic investigation on which the MAY and EPS were based. In 2017 the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, published a calibrated numerical groundwater-flow model and an associated hydrologic investigation report that evaluated the effects of potential groundwater withdrawals on groundwater flow and availability in the North Fork Red River aquifer in southwest Oklahoma. The report also documented the methods used to construct and calibrate the numerical groundwater-flow model.
      The numerical groundwater-flow model of the North Fork Red River aquifer was built on a hydrogeologic framework and a conceptual groundwater-flow model derived from previously published and newly collected hydrologic data. A hydrogeologic framework is a three-dimensional representation of the aquifer and the surrounding geologic units at a scale that captures the regional controls on groundwater flow. The hydrogeologic framework for the North Fork Red River aquifer included a definition of the aquifer extent and potentiometric surface, as well as a description of the textural and hydraulic properties of aquifer materials. A conceptual groundwater-flow model is a simplified description of the major inflow and outflow sources (hydrologic boundaries) of a groundwater-flow system as well as an accounting of the estimated mean flows from those sources (water budget) for a specified period of time. The hydrogeologic framework and conceptual model are necessary components used in the construction and calibration of a scientifically defensible numerical groundwater-flow model that reasonably represents the groundwater-flow system.
      A finite-difference numerical groundwater-flow model of the North Fork Red River aquifer was constructed by using MODFLOW-2005 with the Newton formulation solver. The numerical model had 385 rows, 460 columns, about 27,600 active cells of 886 by 886 ft (270 by 270 meters), and 2 layers. The top layer represented the undifferentiated Quaternary alluvium and terrace deposits with variable thickness determined from the hydrogeologic framework, and the bottom layer represented the Permian bedrock with a nominal thickness of about 100 feet. One terrace lobe in northern Beckham County was not included in the model active area because it was hydraulically disconnected from the rest of the North Fork Red River aquifer. The numerical model was temporally discretized into 408 monthly transient stress periods representing the period 1980–2013. A steady-state stress period, in which the groundwater-flow equation had no storage component, was used to represent mean annual inflows to and outflows from the aquifer and produce a solution that served as the initial condition for subsequent transient stress periods.
      Groundwater-availability scenarios were run on the calibrated numerical groundwater-flow model to (1) estimate the EPS pumping rate that guarantees a minimum 20-, 40-, and 50-year life of the aquifer, (2) quantify the potential effects of projected well withdrawals on groundwater storage over a 50-year period, and (3) simulate the potential effects of a hypothetical (10-year) drought on groundwater storage and Lake Altus storage. The results of these groundwater-availability scenarios can be used by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to reevaluate the MAY for groundwater withdrawn from the North Fork Red River aquifer in Oklahoma.
  • Jessica Correll, Oklahoma Water Resources Board Water Resources Geologist
    Hydrologic Investigation of the Cimarron Terrace Aquifer, Northwest Oklahoma
    • The Cimarron Terrace aquifer is located in north-west Oklahoma expanding 1,305 square miles across Alfalfa, Major, Woods, and Kingfisher Counties. The aquifer consists of Quaternary-age alluvial and terrace deposits that are underlain by Permian-age clays, shales, evaporites, and sandstones. The purpose of this study is to produce a comprehensive hydrologic survey that will be utilized for regional groundwater planning. Climate data were analyzed from twelve Cooperative Observer (COOP) stations resulting in a mean annual precipitation value ranging from 26.99 inches in the northwestern area of the aquifer to 30.81 inches in the central area. There were approximately 4,500 groundwater wells and 782 groundwater permits located within the study area in 2016. Depth to water measurements in 178 groundwater wells during March 2016 were used to produce a potentiometric surface map, which indicated that groundwater generally flows from the northwest to the south-southeast. Preliminary results suggest that the saturated thickness of the study area ranged from 0 feet along the boundaries to about 150 feet with an average of 20 feet. Data from 72 monitoring wells were analyzed to show long-term water-level changes in the aquifer. Eight wells were equipped with water-level recorders to characterize monthly trends and responses to precipitation. Preliminary calculations indicate a mean hydraulic conductivity value of approximately 22 feet per day was calculated for the study area using single-well pumping tests as well as a mean value of 30.9 feet per day utilizing a percent sand analysis. Three multi-well pumping tests were conducted on wells operated by the City of Enid and the City of Okeene. With the resultant data, the AQTESOLV modeling program will estimate transmissivity values, hydraulic conductivity, and storativity. Water use data from 1967 to 2015 were analyzed for the study area; the main uses for this time period were irrigation and public water supply with an average annual use of 29,752 acre-feet. The Soil-Water-Balance method estimated mean annual recharge to be 1.69 inches utilizing climate data from ten Oklahoma Mesonet weather stations and twenty-one COOP stations. Groundwater wells were sampled for selected water quality parameters in 2016 as a part of the OWRB Groundwater Monitoring and Assessment Program (GMAP). Water type in the study area was not uniform and nitrates exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Maximum Contaminant Level for public water supply in 17 of the 32 wells sampled.

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