Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

Can basin-scale recharge be estimated reasonably with water-balance models?

Abigail E. Faust, Ty P. A. Ferre, Marcel G. Schaap and Andrew C. Hinnell
Can basin-scale recharge be estimated reasonably with water-balance models?
Vadose Zone Journal (August 2006) 5 (3): 850-855


We examine in-place recharge as an example of the complex, basin-scale hydrologic processes that are being represented with simplified numerical models. The rate and distribution of recharge depend on local meteorological conditions and hydrogeologic properties. The pattern of recharge is defined predominantly by the distribution of net precipitation (precipitation less evapotranspiration), but different pedotransfer functions (PTFs) predict different fractions of precipitation that become in-place recharge at a given location. At any single location, these differences can often be explained on the basis of the PTF characteristics, but because of the complex averaging that occurs across a basin, the combined effects of meteorological variation and soil textural variation on the basin-wide recharge rates cannot be predicted on the basis of the characteristics of different PTFs. In fact, we show that the same basin-scale numerical model, using identical inputs and modeling options, can produce almost an order of magnitude variation in predicted basin total recharge depending on the choice of PTF. This suggests that sensitivity analyses should be performed on the choice of constitutive relationship (e.g., PTF) when assessing the predictive capability of basin-scale hydrologic models.

ISSN: 1539-1663
Serial Title: Vadose Zone Journal
Serial Volume: 5
Serial Issue: 3
Title: Can basin-scale recharge be estimated reasonably with water-balance models?
Affiliation: U. S. Geological Survey, Tucson, AZ, United States
Pages: 850-855
Published: 200608
Text Language: English
Publisher: Soil Science Society of America, Madison, WI, United States
References: 26
Accession Number: 2006-071573
Categories: Hydrogeology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 1 table, geol. sketch maps
N31°49'60" - N32°30'00", W111°10'00" - W110°19'60"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Arizona at Tucson, USA, United StatesU. S. Department of Agriculture, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, Copyright, Soil Science Society of America. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 200641
Program Name: USGSOPNon-USGS publications with USGS authors
Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal