Runoff Modeling of a Coastal Basin to Assess Variations in Response to Shifting Climate and Land Use: Implications for Managed Recharge

  • Sarah BeganskasEmail author
  • Kyle S. Young
  • Andrew T. Fisher
  • Ryan Harmon
  • Sacha Lozano


We quantified the distribution of hillslope runoff under different climate and land-use conditions in a coastal, mixed land-use basin, the Pajaro Valley Drainage Basin (PVDB), California, USA, in order to evaluate opportunities to improve groundwater supply. We developed dry, normal, and wet climate scenarios using high-resolution historic data and compared contemporary land use to pre-development land use under the different climate scenarios. Relative to pre-development conditions, urban and agricultural development resulted in more than twice as much simulated runoff generation, greater spatial variability in runoff, and less water available for recharge; these differences were most pronounced during the dry climate scenario. Runoff results were considered in terms of potential to support distributed stormwater collection linked to managed aquifer recharge (DSC-MAR), which routes excess hillslope runoff to sites where it can infiltrate and enhance groundwater recharge. In the PVDB, 10% of the annual groundwater deficit could be addressed by recharging 4.3% of basin-wide hillslope runoff generated during the normal scenario, and 10.0% and 1.5% of runoff during the dry and wet scenarios, respectively. Runoff simulation results were combined with an independent recharge suitability mapping analysis, showing that DSC-MAR could be effective in many parts of the PVDB under a range of climate conditions. These results highlight the importance of strategically locating DSC-MAR projects at the confluence of reliable supply and favorable subsurface hydrologic properties.


Hillslope runoff Stormwater collection Managed aquifer recharge Groundwater management Land use development Climate and hydrology 



This project was funded by the California Coastal Conservancy (13-118); the University of California Water Security and Sustainability Research Initiative (449214-RB-69085), supported by the UC Office of the President’s Multi-Campus Research Programs and Initiatives (MR-15-328473); a Graduate Research Fellowship from the US National Science Foundation; the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF5595); and The Recharge Initiative (

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11269_2019_2197_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (2.6 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 2.59 mb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Earth and Planetary SciencesUniversity of California Santa CruzSanta CruzUSA
  2. 2.Earth and Environmental ScienceTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Physics, U.S. Coast Guard AcademyNew LondonUSA
  4. 4.Hydrologic Science and EngineeringColorado School of MinesGoldenUSA
  5. 5.Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz CountyCapitolaUSA

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