Understanding and managing the stressed Mexico-USA transboundary Hueco bolson aquifer in the El Paso del Norte region as a complex system

Understanding and managing the stressed Mexico-USA transboundary Hueco bolson aquifer in the El Paso del Norte region as a complex system

Year of publication: 
2005
Pages: 
pp 813–825
Name of publisher / organisation and location: 
Springer
Abstract: 

As the latest drought has swept over the southwestern United States, most local and regional water providers have had to rely on ground water to meet their water demands as surface water supplies have diminished. In areas near major population centers this situation has continued to put strain and stress on already over-drafted regional aquifers. Metropolitan centers throughout the southwestern United States, as exemplified by Las Vegas, Nevada; Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; and El Paso, Texas, have a history of over drafting their available ground water resources. How these stressed aquifers should be managed is an urgent issue. In El Paso, Texas long-term groundwater mining in the transboundary Hueco bolson aquifer has resulted in large water level drawdowns within the basin, particularly in several well fields. This situation has promoted the intrusion of brackish water into fresh water zones, and consequently reduced the volume of fresh water stored in the aquifer. Management of this aquifer is made more complex as the water resources of the region are shared across the United States/Mexico boundary and the transboundary region continues to grow rapidly. This paper describes the current situation within the Hueco bolson due to over drafting and continued reliance on the fresh water in storage and describes how understanding the dynamics of the aquifer as a complex system can offer managerial perspectives that can be used to establish operational procedures and programs for bringing drawdowns into equilibrium, increasing the longevity of the aquifer, gradually restoring water quality, and offering the hope of utilization of the resource in a sustainable manner.

Journal or book title: 
Hydrogeology Journal
Author(s): 
Sheng, Z.
Devere, J.
Keywords: 
Brackish water intrusion
Country/countries and or aquifer(s) covered in publication: 
United States of America
Mexico
Aquifer: 
Bolsón del Hueco-Valle de Juárez