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Net Recharge vs. Depth to Groundwater Relationship in the Platte River Valley of Nebraska, United States

Authors

  • Jozsef Szilagyi,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68583.
    • Department of Hydraulic and Water Resources Engineering, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Muegyetem Rakpart 1-3, Budapest H-1111, Hungary; (36)-1-463-1885; fax: (36)-1-463-1879; jszilagyi1@unl.edu

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  • Vitaly A. Zlotnik,

    1. Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588.
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  • Janos Jozsa

    1. Department of Hydraulic and Water Resources Engineering, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Muegyetem Rakpart 1-3, Budapest H-1111, Hungary.
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Abstract

One-km resolution MODIS-based mean annual evapotranspiration (ET) estimates in combination with PRISM precipitation rates were correlated with depth to groundwater (d) values in the wide alluvial valley of the Platte River in Nebraska for obtaining a net recharge (Rn) vs. d relationship. MODIS cells with irrigation were excluded, yielding a mixture of predominantly range, pasture, grass, and riparian forest covers on sandy soils with a shallow groundwater table. The transition depth (dt) between negative and positive values of the net groundwater recharge was found to be at about 2 (±1) m. Within 1 (±1) m of the surface and at a depth larger than about 7 to 8 (±1) m, the mean annual net recharge became independent of d at a level of about −4 (±12)% and 13 (±10)%, respectively, of the mean annual precipitation rate. The obtained Rn(d) relationship is based on a calibration-free ET estimation method and may help in obtaining the net recharge in shallow groundwater areas of negligible surface runoff where sufficient groundwater-depth data exist.

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