United States Geological Survey Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Study

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    As part of a technical study program intended to enhance the current knowledge regarding groundwater resources within Sonoma County, the USGS initiated a multi-year cooperative study of groundwater resources within the Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Basin in 2005. The cooperative study is being conducted by the USGS in partnership with the Sonoma County Water Agency, County of Sonoma, City of Santa Rosa, City of Rohnert Park, City of Sebastopol, City of Cotati, Town of Windsor, and California-American Water Company.


    Principal elements of the study:

    1. A comprehensive geographic information system (GIS) to compile, analyze and visualize hydrologic and related data
    2. Collection of new data, with a focus of water-quality sampling
    3. Data interpretation and hydrogeologic characterization – including refining hydrologic budgets, and updating conceptual models of the groundwater flow system based on the new data and the results of ongoing USGS geologic and geophysical studies in the basin
    4. The development of a fully-coupled numerical surface water/groundwater flow model for Santa Rosa Plain. Results from the study will provide stakeholders with tools to assist in evaluating the hydrologic impacts of future climate-change scenarios and alternative groundwater management strategies for the basin. Additionally, the study could potentially form the technical foundation for a local non-regulatory groundwater management planning process.


    Summer 2013

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) completed the first portion of a seven-year study of groundwater resources of the Santa Rosa Plain Watershed. View the USGS Study and a fact sheet on the study.

    In most groundwater management scenarios, the connection between surface water and groundwater has been largely overlooked. Unless surface water is available to recharge the aquifers, groundwater levels will decline. Alternatively, groundwater helps recharge surface water so any overdraft of groundwater means less water in creeks and streams.


    Spring 2014

    The USGS finalized in 2014 a second component of the study – a computer model – which couples surface water and groundwater flow and includes a comprehensive summary of the water budget for the study area, as well as future climate change projections. The cutting edge, science-based data is an integral component of groundwater management planning will allow the community to make decisions that will improve groundwater management.

    Visit the USGS site here to view the study about this second component: 
    Simulation of Groundwater and Surface-Water Resources of the Santa Rosa Plain Watershed, Sonoma County, California

    View a powerpoint presentation from the USGS about the model.