A GIS-Based Framework to Identify Opportunities to Use Surface Water to Offset Groundwater Withdrawals

  • Jian ChenEmail author
  • Whitney P. BroussardIII
  • David M. Borrok
  • Fabiane B. Speyrer


The over-use of groundwater is an increasing issue even in regions of the U.S. traditionally characterized by abundant rainfall and surface water. Part of the groundwater withdrawals in these regions can potentially be replaced by surface water, and quantitative spatial analysis to demonstrate this potential may help to spur policy changes. However, one challenge for this type of spatial analysis is the lack of groundwater withdrawal data at the watershed scale. For example, estimates of groundwater withdraw are only available at the county-level for most of the U.S., which is not granular enough to be useful for local management decisions. The present study developed a GIS-based framework for spatially disaggregating available groundwater withdrawal information based on ancillary information such as the well’s minimum casing diameter. This information was used to identify potential opportunities where surface water could be used to offset groundwater withdrawals. The application of this framework to irrigation water demand in the state of Louisiana shows that a significant fraction of groundwater withdrawals can potentially be offset by available surface water. This basic framework can be complemented with additional considerations such as the availability of surface water to more fully evaluate water management scenarios.


Dasymetric mapping Disaggregation GIS Groundwater withdrawal Proximity analysis 



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant No. CBET-1360398 and grant No. DUE-1122898. All the authors acknowledge their previous employer, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where the work was performed.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Figure S1

Lnd Use in Louisiana (1 km) resampled from USGS NLCD 2011 (PNG 628 kb)

11269_2019_2298_MOESM1_ESM.tif (1.1 mb)
High resolution image (TIF 1144 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of North AlabamaFlorenceUSA
  2. 2.JESCO Environmental & Geotechnical Services, Inc.JenningsUSA
  3. 3.Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering DepartmentMissouri University of Science and TechnologyRollaUSA
  4. 4.Gulf Coast Inventory & Monitoring NetworkNational Park ServiceLafayetteUSA

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