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Salt Fork of the Red River Aquifer

The Salt Fork Red River aquifer in Greer, Harmon, and Jackson Counties of southwestern Oklahoma is composed of about 274.5 square miles of alluvium and terrace deposits associated with the Salt Fork Red River. The mean annual recharge rate to the Salt Fork Red River aquifer for the period 1980–2015 was estimated to be about 2.94 inches per year, or 10.0 percent of the mean annual precipitation for the same period (29.4 inches per year). This 1980–2015 mean annual recharge rate is equivalent to a mean annual recharge rate of about 38,000 acre-feet per year (acre-ft/yr) for the Salt Fork Red River aquifer excluding about 19,764 acres comprising the Mulberry Creek and Horse Creek terraces. The mean annual recharge rates upgradient and downgradient from USGS streamgage 07300500 Salt Fork Red River at Mangum, Okla. (hereinafter referred to as the “Mangum gage”), apportioned by aquifer area (41.5 and 58.5 percent, respectively), were about 16,000 and 22,000 acre-ft/yr, respectively. Mean annual groundwater use for the study period (1980–2015) was 3,532.7 acre-ft/yr; about 77 percent of that groundwater use was for irrigation, and about 23 percent was for public supply. Most groundwater use for irrigation was associated with wells in the Martha terrace.

A hydrogeologic framework was developed for the Salt Fork Red River aquifer and included a definition of the aquifer extent and potentiometric surface, as well as a description of the textural and hydraulic properties of aquifer materials. The hydrogeologic framework was used in the construction of the numerical groundwater-flow model of the Salt Fork Red River aquifer described in this report. A conceptual model for the Salt Fork Red River aquifer that reasonably represents the groundwater-flow system was developed to constrain the construction and calibration of the numerical model. The conceptual-model water budget estimated mean annual inflows to, and outflows from, the Salt Fork Red River aquifer for the period 1980–2015 and included a subaccounting of mean annual inflows and outflows for the portions of the aquifer that were upgradient and downgradient from the Mangum gage.

The numerical groundwater-flow model of the Salt Fork Red River aquifer was constructed by using MODFLOW-2005 with the Newton formulation solver. The model of the Salt Fork Red River aquifer was spatially discretized into 1,050 rows, 1,125 columns, about 170,000 active cells measuring 200 by 200 feet (ft), and a single convertible layer. The model was temporally discretized into 432 monthly transient stress periods (each with two time steps to improve model stability). An initial steady-state stress period represented mean annual inflows to, and outflows from, the aquifer and produced a solution that was used as the initial condition for subsequent transient stress periods as well as some groundwater-availability scenarios. The model was calibrated to water-table-altitude observations at selected wells and base-flow observations at selected streamgages.


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