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STATE OF CALIFORNIA
The Resources Agency

partment of Wa ter Resources



BULLETIN No. 84



MOJAVE RIVER

GROUND WATER BASINS

INVESTIGATION



AUGUST 1967




RONALD REAGAN

Governor
State of California



WILLIAM R. GIANELLI

Director

Department of Water Resources



STATE OF CALIFORNIA
The Resources Agency

Department of Wa ter Resources



BULLETIN No. 84



MOJAVE RIVER

GROUND WATER BASINS

INVESTIGATION



AUGUST 1967



RONALD REAGAN WILLIAM R. GIANELLI

Governor D/recfor

State of California Department of Water Resources



LIBRARY



FOREWORD



This investigation and report are the result of the recognition
by the Mojave Water Agency of its need for reliable information on exist-
ing water resources, future water requirements, and sources of additional
water supply to meet the needs for growth of the region it serves. Accord-
ingly, the agency, through its legislative representatives, obtained state
funds for the Department of Water Resources to imdertake this investigation.
Appropriation of funds was made under Budget Item 263.2, A. B. No. 1, 1962
Second Extraordinary Session.

To provide interested agencies and persons with information as
soon as it was available, informal meetings were held and two progress
reports were published by the Department of Water Resources.

The results of this study show that additional water will be
required if the Mojave region is to realize its growth potential. The
meager rainfall and increasing water demands of the area indicate the
need for a plan of basin operation that will take full advantage of exist-
ing and potential water resources, including ground water, imported water,
and the use of the ground water basins for both storage and distribution
of water.

The information provided by this study points out the need and
provides a foundation for a ground water basin model simulation and
operational and economic studies, leading to the selection by local
agencies of an optimum plan of water resoiirces management.



William R. Gianelli, Director
Department of Water Resotorces
The Resources Agency
State of California

June 12, 1967



iii



TABLE OF CONTEPITS

Page

FOREWORD iii

ORGANIZATION xii

ENGINEERING CERTIFICATION xiii

ABSTRACT xiv

CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION 1

Objectives of Investigation 1

Scope of Investigation 2

Conduct of Investigation 3

Related Investigations and Reports 5

Area of Investigation 6

Subdivisions of the Study Area 9

Base Hydrologic Period 12

CHAPTER II. GEOLOGY 17

Physiography 17

Stratigraphy l8

Water-Bearing Formations 19

River Deposits 20

Playa Deposits 20

Dune Sand 22

Younger Alluvium 22

Younger Fan Deposits 22

Old Lake and Lakeshore Deposits 23

Older Alluvium 23

Older Fan Deposits 2k

Landslide Breccia 2k

Shoemaker Gravel 2k

Harold Formation 2k

Nonwater-Bearing Formations 25

Quaternary Basalt 25

Tertiary Sedimentary Rocks 2o



Page

Tertiary Volcanic Rocks 26

Basement Complex , 27



Structures Affecting Ground Water Movement 27

Helendale Fault 28

Lockhart Fault .••• ..... 29

Calico-Newberry Fault 30

CHAPTER III. WATER SUPPLY, USE, AND DISPOSAL ... 33

Water Supply 33

Precipitation 3I4.

Surface Flow 39

Subsurface Flow 53

Import - Export of Water 55

Water Use and Disposal 58

Surface Outflow 58

Subsurface Outflow 59

Export Water , 59

Consiomptive Use 59

Agriculture 60

Urban- Suburban and Industry 6k

Nonbeneficial Consumptive Use 67

Water Supply Surplus or Deficiency 73

CHAPTER IV. WATER QUALITY 77

Sampling and Analyses 78

Mineral. Character and Quality of Surface and Ground Water .... 80



VI



Page

Surface Water 80

Ground Water 83

Bicarbonate Ground V/ater 8U

Sulfate and Sulfate -Chloride Ground Water 85

Sodium Chloride Ground Water 86

Ground Water of More Than One Type 87

Changes in Ground Water Character and Quality 88

CHAPTER V. GROUND WATER STORAGE,

OVERDRAFT, AW SAFE YIELD ... 91

Ground Water Storage 91

Storage Capacity 92

Change in Storage 95

Ground Water Overdraft and Safe Yield 100

CHAPTER VI. FUTURE SUPPLEMENTAL WATER

REQUIREMENTS AITO SOURCES. ... 105

CHAPTER VII. SUMMARY OF FINDINGS AND

CONCLUDING STATEMEITTS Ill

Sujomary of Findings Ill

Geology Ill

Hydrology 112

Historical Conditions 112

Future Conditions Ho

Water Quality II8

Concluding Statements .II9



Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C



APPENDIXES

BIBLIOGRAPHY 121

DEFIrllTION OF TERMS 12?

CLASSIFICATION OF I.AND USE 135

vii



Appendix D: WATER QJJM.ITY CRITERIA I39

Criteria for Drinking Water llll

Criteria for Hardnes.? ikk

Criteria for Irrigation Water ikk

Criteria for Industrial Uses lUo

Appendix S: SPECIFIC YIELD VAI.UES km REPRESENTATIVE

DRILLERS' TERI-IS 1^7

FIGURES
Figure No.

1 Location Map 5

2 Area of Investigation 7

3 Precipitation Characteristics at

Squirrel Inn No. 2 II4

h Generalized Stratigraphic Column of

Water -Bearing Sequence, Mojave River Area 21

5 Average Monthly Distribution of Precipitation
at Representative Stations - I936-37

Through I96O-61 35

6 The Ground Water Basin as a Free Body 7U

7 Ground Water Storage Unit 93

8 Camulative v;ater Supply Surplus or Deficiency ... 97

9 Hydrographs of Ground V/nter at

Representative Wells 98

TABLES
Table No .

1 Names and Areal Code Numbers of

Hydrologic Areas 10

2 Boundary Conditions Between Basins 11



VI 11



Table No . Page

3 Water Level Data for Wells Adjacent to

Helendale Fault in Lucerne Basin 29

k Water Level Data for Wells Adjacent to

Lockhart Fault 30

5 Water Level Data for Wells Adjacent to
Calico-Newberry Fault 31

6 Selected Precipitation' Stations in the Study Area. . 37

7 Estimated Average Annual Precipitation by Area ... 38

8 Estimated Seasonal Deep Percolation of Precipitation
on the Valley Floor South of Hesperia During

the Base Period ^0

9 Stream Gaging Stations k2

10 Average Annual Flows at the Basin Bo'ondaries .... ^4-9

11 Average Precipitation - Percent Runoff Values. ... 50

12 Estimated Surface Inflov; During

the Base Period 52

13 Estimated Average Annual Subsurface Inflow 5^

ik Estimated Average Annual /amount s of V/ater

Imported to the Upper and Lower Mojave Basins. ... 56

15 Estimated Water Supply During the Base Period ... 57

16 Estimated Average Seasonal Unit Consumptive Use
Values for Agricultural Crops During

the Base Period 62

17 Estimated Land Use in the Basins in I961 63

18 Consumptive Use of VJater by Agriculture

During the Base Period 6U

19 Estimated Population, I93O to I96O 65

20 Consumptive Use of Water by Urban and Suburban

Areas During the Base Period 66



IX



Table No .

21 Consumptive Use of Water by Industry During
the Base Period



Page



22 Average Annual Unit Consumptive Use Value

of Riparian Native Vegetation 69

23 Areas Devoted to Riparian Native Vegetation

in 1960-61 70

2k Consurabtive Use of Water by Riparian Native

Vegetation During the Base Period 7I

25 Estimated VJater Use and Disposal During

the Base Period 72

26 Estimated Water Supply, Use and Disposal, and
Water Supply Surplus or Deficiency During the

Base Period 75

27 Mineral Analyses of Representative Surface

Waters 79

28 Mineral Analyses of Representative Ground

VJaters from V/ells 8I

29 Estimated Ground V/ater Storage Capacity,
Available Storage, and Ground VJater in

Storage 95

30 Estimated Change in Amounts of Ground Water in

Storage Dujring the Base Period 96

31 Purapage of Ground Water in I961 99

32 Estimated Annual Overdraft under I96O-61

Land Use Conditions and Pumpage 101

33 Estimated Mean Annual Safe Yield Under

1960-61 Land Use Conditions and Pumpage 102

3^ VJater Requirements and Sources of Supply IO8

35 United States Public Health Service Drinking

Water Standards, I962 lI|-2

36 Upper Limits of Total Solids and Selected Minerals

In Drinking Water as Delivered to the Consumer. . . 1^3



Table No . Page

37 Relationship of Temperature to Fluoride

Concentration in Drinking Water ikk

38 Hardness Classification ikh

39 Qualitative Classification of Irrigation

Waters li+5



PLATES
Plate No .

1 Physiographic Features and Lines of Equal
Average Seasonal Precipitation

2 Areal Geology

3 Geologic Sections

k Ground Water Basins and Effective

Base of Fresh Water

5 Land Use - I961

6 Water Quality Conditions

7 Ground Water Level Contours, 1961

8 Ground V/ater Level Contours, Spring 196^

9 Change in Ground Water Level Elevation
From 1936-37 Through I96O-61



XI



state of California

The Resources Agency

DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES

RONALD REAGAN, Governor

WILLIAM R. GIANELLI, Director, Department of Water Resources

JOHN R, TEERINK, Deputy Director

SOUTHERN DISTRICT

James J. Doody ••••..., District Engineer

Herbert W. Greydanus ••••• Principal Engineer

Jack J. Coe Chief, Planning Branch

This investigation was conducted under the direction

of

Robert Y, D. Chun Chief, Project Planning and Special

Investigations Section

The Program Manager responsible for overall

supervision of the investigation and

preparation of the report

was

Ernest M. Weber Chief, Geology Unit

The geologic and hydrologic studies were conducted

by

Harvey L. Chun Assistant Civil Engineer

Thomas M. Schwarberg •........, Assistant Engineering Geologist



Others who were connected with this investigation
in its early stages
were

Vernon E. Valantine Chief, Operations Branch

William X. Madden Chief, Desalination Unit,

Operations Branch

John R. Cummings • • Associate Engineering Geologist

Clifford R. Farrell Associate Engineering Geologist

Joseph F. LoBue Associate Engineering Geologist



state of California

The Resources Agency

DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES



ENGINEERING CERTIFICATION



This report has been prepared under my direction as the
professional engineer in direct responsible chsu:ge of the work, in
accordance with the provisions of the Civil and Professional Engineers*
Act of the State of California.



ATTEST:




D:(s;tM.ct Engineer /
Southern District

Registration No. 6500

Date ^ ■



Registered,;12ivil Engineer
Registration No. 16783
Date



-fj^. /(,, /^(7



xiii



ABSTRACT

This 'b\illetiii presents data on the water resources and water requirements of a part of the Mojave Desert area,
consisting of ahout 3>700 sqviare miles located primarily in San Bernardino County. The study was authorized by
the Legislature in I962 for the purpose of providing fundamental geologic and hydrologic information to the
State of California and to local water agencies in the Mojave area as the basis for planning for optimum use of
water supplies and facilities. In this desert region, annual water supply from precipitation is not sufficient
to meet the needs of existing agricultural and urban developments. The water deficiency that has existed in
the area since about 19^5 has been met by extraction of ground water. However, with the anticipated continua-
tion — or acceleration — of the urban growth pattern of recent years, additional water will be required. These
future water needs could be met by a combination of ground water and imported water. Control of non-beneficial
riparian vegetation offers a potential secondary soiirce of Increased water supply. The bulletin describes
geology, water supply, water q\iality, and water requirements in the study area. Tables give detailed informa-
tion on resources and requirements. Figures and plates show the area of investigation, geology and geologic
sections, precipitation patterns, hydrographic units, land use, and changes in groimd water levels.



xlv



CHAPTER I. IKTRODUCTIOW

Recently, residences and industry have grovn up over much of
the land along the Mojave River in San Bernardino County that formerly
supported only agriculture. This developoaent, which has increased the
water \ises, has caused concern among water agencies over the adequacy of
the local supply. Although large amounts of water are known to be stored
underground, the scanty rainfall in the vast desert areas surrounding
the river raises a question as to the long-term reliability of local
supplies and suggests the need for imported water. In addition, the
quality of the local supplies is a matter of concern, particularly the
possible changes in quality resulting from increased urban development
and water use. As one means of relieving the problem, the Mojave Water
Agency on June 22, I963, signed a contract to take delivery of 50,000 acre-
feet from the State Water Facility.

In recognition of the need for an analysis of the water
resources along the Mojave River, the California Legislature requested
the Department of Water Resources to make such an investigation. Studies
were started in July I962.

To provide interested agencies and persons with information as
soon as it was available, informal meetings were held and two progress
reports were pub3J.shed. This final report summarizes the results of the
investigation.

Objectives of Investigation
The major objective of this study is to provide geologic and
hydrologic information that can be used by local agencies in managing the



-1-



surface and ground water resources of the area in the most productive and
economic manner.

The specific objectives of this investigation are to:

1. Develop information on "boundary conditions of the ground

■water resources, structures affecting ground water movement, transmissive

and storage characteristics of the water-hearing material, and subsurface

\
flow and change in ground water storage.

2, Increase the detail and extent of the knowledge pertaining

to the amounts of annual water supply, use, and disposal for each subdivision
of the study area for a selected base period. From this information, evalu-
ate the character and amount of deep percolation, determine the average
annual water supply surplus or deficiency, estimate the average annual safe
yield and overdraft and determine where future imported water supplies must
be delivered, by identifying the areas of water supply surplus and deficiency.

Scope of Investigation

The investigation consisted of a comprehensive and detailed geolo-
gic and hydrologic study of the area along the Mojave River. The hydrologic
study concentrated on the 25-year period of 193^-37 through I96O-61, which
was selected as the study base period. The hydrologic study included
investigation of the mineral quality of both the surface and ground water
supplies.

The geologic investigation consisted of the review of all avail-
able geologic data, detailed field mapping, and field transmissibility
tests. Basin boundaries and physical properties of the area were then
determined.



-2-



In the hydrologic investigation, the available reports on the
study area were reviewed and data were compiled, from reports published "by
the United States Geological Survey, United States Weather Bureau, and
Department of V/ater Resources. Numerous contacts were made with individual
agencies to gather the necessary data regarding the various items of water
supply, use and disposal. This information was developed on an annual
"basis.

The water quality investigation consisted of review and evalua-
tion of existing data and of new data obtained from a limited water sampling
program. Areas in which the water quality is relatively consistent were
delineated to show the mineral character and total dissolved solids content
of the water. A limited salt balance analysis V7as made.

Conduct of Investigation
Geologic, hydrologic, and water quality studies were conducted to
meet the objectives of this investigation. Standard engineering concepts
were used to develop hydrologic information and, where necessary, simplify-
ing assumptions were made to facilitate the geologic, hydrologic, and water
quality analyses. The major steps in the conduct of this investigation
are summarized below:

1. The geologic properties of the study area were determined,
the study area was subdivided into convenient workable units, transmissi-
bility and storage factors of the water-bearing sediments were estimated,
and historical water level elevations were determined.

2. The annual amounts of water supply, use, and disposal were
estimated; vzater use and disposal were subtracted from the water supply

to obtain annual water supply surplus or deficiency for the base period.

-3-



3. The change in the amount of groimd water in storage during
the base period was estimated by the specific yield method.

k* The mineral quality of the water in the area was determined.

5. The total annual amount of water supply or deficiency was
compared with the total annual change in the amount of ground water in
storage during the base period.

During the first year of the investigation, activities were
directed toward establishing, on a preliminary basis, the extent of the
local water resources of the area; this information was used by the Mojave
Water Agency and the State of California as the basis for a contract to
import a supplemental water supply through the California Aqueduct. These
activities were summarized in the first progress report.

During the second year of the investigation, the geologic studies
of the area were expanded to identify and delineate the extent of the
v/ater-bearing materials, to establish the location of structures affecting
ground water movement, and to determine the hydraulic characteristics of
the water-bearing materials. The refinement of the preliminary estimates
of water supply, use, and disposal was commenced; the seasonal amounts of
the major components of both surface and subsurface flows within the area
were determined; also, a study of the mineral characteristics of both the
ground water and surface water was initiated. These activities were summa-
rized in the second progress report.

During the third year of the investigation, the studies to achieve
the specific objectives of the program v/ere completed. These studies
included a determination of the annual amount of supply, use, and disposal
of water during the base period; the annual amount of water supply surplus



-U-



or deficiency; and estimates of the present and future uses of water in
the study area. The local water supplies and future water requirements
were compared to ascertain the time, magnitude, and location of delivery
of imported supplies. Ground water storage capacities estimates from the
preliminary studies were revised, using an electronic digital computer.
Change in the amount of ground water in storage during the "base period was
calculated and compared with water supply s-ojrplus or deficiency for the
same period. This bulletin summarizes the activities and results of the
entire investigation.

Related Investigations and Reports
Previous hydrologic investigations of the Mojave River region
have been made and reported on by the Department of Water Resources and
its predecessor agencies and by other federal, state, county, and private
agencies. Reports of previous major investigations are listed below.
Other reports utilized in preparing this bulletin are summarized in
Appendix A, Bibliography.

1. Blaney, Harry F., and Ewing, Paul A. "Utilization of the VJaters of

Mojave River, California." United States Department of
Agriculture, Division of Irrigation. August 1935 •

2. California State Department of Public VJorks, Division of Water

Resources. "Mojave River Investigation." Bulletin No. k'J. 193^«

3. Frye, Arthur H., Jr. "Report on Survey for Flood Control, Mojave

River, San Bernardino County, California." United States Corps
of Engineers. December 28, 19^6»

h» Koebig and Koebig, Incorporated. "Mojave Water Agency-Supplemental
Water Report." Volume 1. March I962.

5. . "Mojave Water Agency-Supplemental VJater Report." Volume 1,

Appendixes A, B, C, and D. March I962.



-5-



6. Thompson, David G. "iTie Mojave Desert Region, California." united

States Geological Survey V/ater-Supply Paper No. 578. 1929

7. United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation.

"Report on Victor Project, California." April 1952.



Area of Investigation
The area of investigation, which is outlined in Figures 1 and
2, is located almost «fntire].y in San Bernardino County, with only




Figure I. LOCATION MAP
-6-




LEGEND

- AREA OF INVESTIGATION

— HYOROLOGIC BOUNDARY



— — - FAULT (DASHED WHERE APPROXIMATE

DOTTED WHERE HIDDEN)

«S33> AREAS OF ESSENTIALLY NONWATER -
BEARING ROCKS



Figure 2 AREA OF INVESTIGATION



kUTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES, SOUTHERN DISTRICT, 1 96 7



-7-



a small portion in Kern County. The stud^y area is part of the Mojave
Desert, which covers vast areas of east-central Southern California.

The study area is irregularly shaped and covers about 3,700
square miles in the south-central part of the Mojave Desert. The area
extends about 6o miles northerly and easterly along and adjacent to the
Mojave River from its source in the San Bernardino Mountains, along the
soutnern border of the study area, to the desert floor near Afton.
Although the Mojave River extends beyond Afton, the area downstream from
Afton was not included in the study- because the use of water there is
considered minor in quantity and economic importance to the total study
area.

The study area is essentially a plain sloping gently north-
ward and eastward. The plain is made up of small, broad valleys, or
closed basins, separated by isolated hills, groups of hills, and low
moimtains. Tne bottoms of the closed basins are playas which contain
water only following heav;/ rainfall. The largest playas in the study
area are Lucerne Lake, Harper Lake, Coyote Lake, and Troy Lake.

Elevations in the study area range from more than 8,500 feet
near Crestline in the San Bernardino Mountains to 2,715 feet at Victorville
and l,4o8 feet at Afton.

The Mojave River is the major stream traversing the study area.
The river originates in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains at
the junction of the West Fork and Deep Creek and flows north 12 miles to
Victorville, then continues l8 miles adjacent to Highway 91 to Helendale.
It then turns northeast and continues adjacent to Highway 91 past Barstow
to Afton, the study area limit, approximately 90 miles from its beginning.



-8-



The river then flows to its terminus in Silver Lake. Flood waters in the
Mojave Eiver occasionaU^ reach Silver Lake but soon evaporate. Perennial
flow occurs only in the mountains and near Victorville, Harvard, and Afton.

Annual precipitation averages less than h inches in the desert
area hut exceeds ^0 inches in the upper regions of the Mojave River water-
shed. Sixty percent of the precipitation occurs from December through
March. The growing period between killing frosts averages about 2^5 days.
The area is also noted for its high summer temperatures and low humidity;
temperatures of more than 100° F and relative humidity below 20 percent are

not uncommon.

The greater portion of the region is undeveloped. Historically,
the development of irrigable lands and centers of population have been
primarily along the Mojave River and the adjacent valleys where there has
been an easily available supply of surface and/or ground water. Alfalfa
and permanent pasture are the chief crops. The larger centers of urban
development are the Cities of Barstow and Victorville, with I960 populations
of about 11,500 and 8,000. Other communities include Hesperia, Apple
Valley, Lucerne Valley, Adelanto, and Yermo. Mining and the manufacture
of cement are the chief industries. Several military installations are
located in the study area, with George Air Force Base near Victorville
being the largest.

Subdivisions of the Study Area
Because of the size and complexity of the study area and the need
for localized information, the area was subdivided for this investigation.
The subdivision was based mainly on information in the office report



-9-



published by the Department, "Names and Areal Code Numbers of Hydrologic
Areas in the Southern District", April 196^. The information in the
publication is the basis for compiling, filing, and retrieving geologic
and hydrologic data with high-speed electronic data processing machines
in the Department.

It was found convenient for this study to adopt the names and
areal code numbers used in that publication. However, some significant


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