Borehole geophysical, fluid, and hydraulic properties within and surrounding the freshwater/saline-water transition zone, San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquifer, south-central Texas, 2010-11

Jonathan V. Thomas
Gregory P. Stanton
Rebecca B. Lambert

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The freshwater zone of the San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquifer is used by residents of San Antonio and numerous other rapidly growing communities in south-central Texas as their primary water supply source. This freshwater zone is bounded to the south and southeast by a saline-water zone with an intermediate zone transitioning from freshwater to saline water, the transition zone. As demands on this water supply increase, there is concern that the transition zone could potentially move, resulting in more saline water in current supply wells. Since 1985, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), San Antonio Water System (SAWS), and other Federal and State agencies have conducted studies to better understand the transition zone. During 2010 and 2011, the USGS, in cooperation with SAWS, conducted a study to further assess the potential for movement of the transition zone in part of the San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquifer. Equivalent freshwater heads were computed to investigate the transition from saline to freshwater zones in the San Antonio segment and evaluate the potential for lateral flow at the freshwater/saline-water interface. Data were collected within and surrounding the transition zone from 13 wells in four transects (East Uvalde, Tri-County, Fish Hatchery, and Kyle). Hydraulic head and geophysical log data were used to calculate equivalent freshwater heads and then analyzed to identify possible horizontal gradients across the transition zone and thus flow. Unlike previous studies that used indirect methods to calculate fluid conductivity from fluid resistivity, in this study geophysical tools that directly measured fluid conductivity were used. Electromagnetic (EM) flowmeter logs were collected under both ambient and stressed (pumping) conditions and were processed to identify vertical flow zones within the borehole. The San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquifer (the study area) is about 175 miles long and extends from the western groundwater divide near Brackettville in Kinney County to the easte