Date of Graduation

12-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Geography (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Geosciences

Advisor

Jackson Cothren

Committee Member

Ralph Davis

Second Committee Member

Reed Green

Abstract

In this study, the Soil and Water Assessment Test (SWAT) was used as a tool to predict whether diffuse water removal from the Cadron Creek watershed for use with natural gas development would have an impact on downstream flow within the watershed. Cadron Creek watershed expands across four counties within Arkansas and is located in the Fayetteville Shale Gas region. This region is experiencing significant growth in natural gas development. Successful development of shale gas depends on the identification of what water supplies are available for production without interfering with community and environmental needs. The SWAT model used to evaluate hypothetical water removal scenarios was calibrated and validated for accuracy using historical observed water flow (cms) from USGS gage number 07261000 at Wolf Creek outlet. Three scenarios were evaluated using the calibrated model for the 2000 - 2009 time periods. These scenarios are hypothetical, but based on water removal permits granted by the Arkansas National Resources Commission for consumption of surface water for natural gas extraction. The first scenario set up a base level of flow for the watershed, while the second scenario simulated downstream water flow impacts if there was annually consistent water removal. Scenario three restricted water removal during the typically low water level summer months. Results from the scenarios support the conclusion that water removal should be monitored and removed at a variable rate based on a percentage of total flow at any given time, supporting the natural flow dynamics of the stream.