Characterization of groundwater resources in the Trinity and Woodbine aquifers in Texas. Academic Article uri icon


  • A vast region in north-central Texas, centering on Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, suffers from intense groundwater drawdown and water quality degradation, which led to inclusion of 18 counties of this region into Priority Groundwater Management Areas. We combined aquifer-based and county-based hydrologic analyses to (1) assess spatio-temporal changes in groundwater level and quality between 1960 and 2010 in the Trinity and Woodbine aquifers underlying the study region, (2) delve into major hydrochemical facies with reference to aquifer hydrostratigraphy, and (3) identify county-based spatial zones to aid in future groundwater management initiatives. Water-level and quality data was obtained from the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) and analyzed on a decadal scale. Progressive water-level decline was the major concern in the Trinity aquifer with >50% of observations occurring at depths >100 m since the 1980s, an observation becoming apparent only in the 2000s in the Woodbine aquifer. Water quality degradation was the major issue in the Woodbine aquifer with substantially higher percentage of observations exceeding the secondary maximum contaminant levels (SMCL; a non-enforceable threshold set by the United State Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)) and/or maximum contaminant level (MCL, a legally enforceable drinking water standard set by the USEPA) for sulfate (SO4(2-)), chloride (Cl(-)), and fluoride (F(-)) in each decade. In both aquifers, however, >70% of observations exceeded the SMCL for total dissolved solids indicating high groundwater salinization. Water-level changes in Trinity aquifer also had significant negative impact on water quality. Hydrochemical facies in this region sequentially evolved from Ca-Mg-HCO3 and Ca-HCO3 in the fluvial sediments of the west to Na-SO4-Cl in the deltaic sediments to the east. Sequentially evolving hydrogeochemical facies and increasing salinization closely resembled regional groundwater flow pattern. Distinct spatial zones based on homogenous hydrologic characteristics have become increasingly apparent over time indicating necessity of zone-specific groundwater management strategies.

published proceedings

  • Sci Total Environ

author list (cited authors)

  • Chaudhuri, S., & Ale, S.

citation count

  • 23

complete list of authors

  • Chaudhuri, Sriroop||Ale, Srinivasulu

publication date

  • May 2013