North Fork of the Red River Alluvium & Terrace
The North Fork of the Red River is an alluvial terrace aquifer consisting of layers of sand, silt, clay and gravel with an average thickness of 40 feet and a maximum thickness of 150 feet overlying Permian age formations (Kent, 1980). The aquifer extends over an area of approximately 575 square miles in Beckham, Greer, Kiowa, and Jackson Counties. It is mainly used for public water supply, irrigation, and domestic supply (Paukstaitis, 1981).
Natural recharge to the aquifer occurs primarily as infiltration of precipitation. The sandy soil of the eolian and alluvial deposits has a high infiltration capacity. Burton (1965) estimated a recharge rate between 3.3 and 14 inches per year for the alluvium and terrace deposits in Beckham County, based on comparisons with areas of similar geology and precipitation. Discharge from the aquifer consists of transpiration by plants (where the water table is shallow), withdrawals by wells, and natural discharge to streams. Burton (1965) found that the movement of groundwater in Beckham County is generally northward and eastward toward the river. The North Fork of the Red River is, for the most part, a gaining stream within the study area, meaning that groundwater from the terrace deposits supplies water as base flow to the river most of the year (Paukstaitis, 1981). However, during the summer months, there are often dry sections of the river.