Groundwater Resource Evaluation

Lahontan GeoScience provides consulting services for an array of clients requiring assistance with groundwater related issues.

Main types of projects we work on include:

  • Installation and abandonment of monitoring and water supply wells
  • Computer Model simulation of groundwater usage and evaluation of possible impacts
  • Collection of baseline hydrologic data such as location and flow of springs, seeps and streams
  • Expert witness testimony
  • Assistance in obtaining groundwater resource permits, preparation of court exhibits
  • Regional groundwater resource evaluation
  • Evaluation of hydrologic budgets such as recharge estimation, subsurface groundwater flow and groundwater losses due to evapotranspiration 
  • Groundwater/Surface Water interaction and possible impacts from well field removal of groundwater resources.

Regional groundwater characterization is often required for environmental impact studies. This is done when federal lands are involved in the project design. For example, federal lands involving pipelines connecting groundwater sources to users across federal properties or when well fields are pumped from the clients property that may impact nearby critical federal areas such as those containing endangered species in creeks and streams. Other important groundwater issues are related to the various components of hydrologic budgets such as the amount of precipitation that recharges to groundwater, the estimation of the safe yield of a groundwater basin and groundwater losses through evapotranspiration and underground outflow from basins. Most of these kinds of issues are evaluated using numerical computer models. These numerical models take known hydrologic input and output factors such as precipitation, groundwater recharge, evapotranspiration, surface water inflow and outflow and groundwater inflow and outflow and overlay them on the geologic structure of the study area. Wells can be simulated and groundwater impacts from pumping can be evaluated. The most commonly used computer model is the MODFLOW model which is widely used by public agencies  as well as private companies to evaluate groundwater conditions. In addition groundwater and surface water quality can be simulated using additional computer models. The typical types of water quality evaluations include pit water quality characterization from post mining pit water generation, movement of naturally occurring poor water quality from groundwater usage and contaminant fate and transport of chemicals that have been accidentally spilled into water sources. These models can be used to refine remediation proposals for cleaning up groundwater quality as well as designing well fields to minimize adverse impacts from existing poor water quality.  LGS has been involved in preparing and reviewing computer models for over 30 years and has acted as an expert witness in water resource projects.

Some examples of projects LGS has been involved in are shown below.