In 2014, California passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) the state’s first groundwater management legislation. Under SGMA, local agencies have the ability to form their own groundwater basins and establish plans for the sustainable use of groundwater. It is vital to have a thorough understanding of aquifer conditions and processes when drafting management practices for sustainable groundwater use. Thus, to aid in the creation of groundwater management plans for agencies within California’s Central Valley, we developed a preliminary groundwater model of Volta Wildlife Refuge using a finite element flow and transport model known as FEFLOW. Volta Wildlife Refuge (VWR) is well studied and outfitted with multiple monitoring stations, making it a good choice for preliminary model generation. In addition, it is one of few remaining seasonal wetlands in California, habitats which are increasingly important and reliant on supplementary groundwater supplies for annual flooding. The model was created using a collection of data from the USGS Central Valley Hydrologic Model (CVHM), California’s Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Grassland Water District (GWD). Once set up, eight separate climate change projection scenarios (CCSM, PCM, GFDL, CNVP) were modeled to predict future changes in aquifer stability that would require the re-evaluation of current groundwater management practices.


Judge, Shelley




geology, hydrology, California, groundwater, well, pumping, climate change

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



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