Multiple Imputation of Groundwater Data to Evaluate Spatial and Temporal Anthropogenic Influences on Subsurface Water Fluxes in Los Angeles, CA
Friday, 19 December 2014
In the City of Los Angeles, groundwater accounts for 11% of the total water supply on average, and 30% during drought years. Due to ongoing drought in California, increased reliance on local water supply highlights the need for better understanding of regional groundwater dynamics and estimating sustainable groundwater supply. However, in an urban setting, such as Los Angeles, understanding or modeling groundwater levels is extremely complicated due to various anthropogenic influences such as groundwater pumping, artificial recharge, landscape irrigation, leaking infrastructure, seawater intrusion, and extensive impervious surfaces. This study analyzes anthropogenic effects on groundwater levels using groundwater monitoring well data from the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works. The groundwater data is irregularly sampled with large gaps between samples, resulting in a sparsely populated dataset. A multiple imputation method is used to fill the missing data, allowing for multiple ensembles and improved error estimates. The filled data is interpolated to create spatial groundwater maps utilizing information from all wells. The groundwater data is evaluated at a monthly time step over the last several decades to analyze the effect of land cover and identify other influencing factors on groundwater levels spatially and temporally. Preliminary results show irrigated parks have the largest influence on groundwater fluctuations, resulting in large seasonal changes, exceeding changes in spreading grounds. It is assumed that these fluctuations are caused by watering practices required to sustain non-native vegetation. Conversely, high intensity urbanized areas resulted in muted groundwater fluctuations and behavior decoupling from climate patterns. Results provides improved understanding of anthropogenic effects on groundwater levels in addition to providing high quality datasets for validation of regional groundwater models.