About the Aquifers


On Friday, April 18, 2014, the Water Team joined over one hundred community members at the Aquifers 101 Seminar by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Members learned that our communities’ aquifers are in overdraft. Yucca Valley receives only 83 acre-feet of recharge from precipitation per year, and Joshua Tree receives less than 200 acre-feet. This is a small fraction of the water these communities use each year.

Increasing nitrate levels, caused by septic system seepage in developed areas, also needs to be closely watched. The USGS is tracking those levels in an ongoing study (http://ca.water.usgs.gov/projects/joshua.html) of water quality in this area.

See the interactive USGS map (http://ca.water.usgs.gov/mojave/mojave-water-data.html), one of the many resources discussed at the seminar. Check the “Morongo Groundwater Subbasin” layer to see the Warren, Joshua Tree, and Copper Mountain basins – our aquifers. The USGS also provides a general map (http://ca.water.usgs.gov/mojave/detail_location.html) with detailed locations.

One of the important aspects of the two-hour presentation was the 101-level discussion on groundwater and aquifers. See if you can answer these questions, and if not, click on the hyperlinks to find out more:

  1. What is an aquifer? (https://water.usgs.gov/edu/earthgwaquifer.html
  2. What is an artesian well? (https://water.usgs.gov/edu/gwartesian.html)
  3. What is fresh water used for in the United States? (https://water.usgs.gov/edu/qa-usage-freshwater.html)
  4. Where does your water come from, and how much water does your community use each year?
    Consult your water district’s Urban Water Management Plan (http://www.water.ca.gov/urbanwatermanagement/2010uwmps/)