Rain Enhancement of Aquifer Recharge across the West Texas Weather Modification Association Target Area

Authors

  • Jonathan A. Jennings Texas Weather Modification Association San Angelo, Texas
  • Ronald T. Green

Abstract

Groundwater is critical to the economy and livelihood of west Texas, with particular importance to arid and semi-arid environments where precipitation is limited and highly variable. In the absence of significant surface-water resources, most land owners rely on groundwater as the sole resource for agricultural, municipal, and economic development needs. Unfortunately, groundwater resources in arid and semi-arid environments are stressed due to increased demands and variable recharge rates and mechanisms.

Rainfall enhancement has been shown using matched cloud analysis to increase precipitation by 8-20% across an eight-county area in west Texas during 2004–2013. This translates to an increase of rainfall as much as 2 in/yr. Confirmatory analysis at 10 rain gauges within the west Texas target area indicates that since 2004 precipitation exhibited an 8% increase when compared with precipitation at 15 rain gauges in the surrounding area outside of the target area.

A precipitation/recharge correlation developed for the semi-arid environment of west Texas was used to determine how much additional recharge has been realized from the rain-enhancement operations that were conducted for the eight-county target area. Using this correlation, recharge to the Edwards-Trinity Aquifer is calculated to have been enhanced by over 1.0 million acre-ft during the period of 2004–2013 across the eight-county target area.

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Technical Notes and Correspondence