Heat as a Tracer to Examine Hydraulic Conductance Near the Russian River Bank Filtration Facility, Sonoma County, CA
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Heat as a Tracer to Examine Hydraulic Conductance Near the Russian River Bank Filtration Facility, Sonoma County, CA

  • Author(s): Constantz, Jim
  • Su, Grace
  • Hatch, Christine
  • et al.
Abstract

Both the measurement of temperature and the simulation of heat and water transport have benefited from significant recent advances in data acquisition and computer resources. This has afforded the opportunity for routine use of heat as a tracer in a variety of hydrological regimes. Heat is particularly well suited for investigations of stream/groundwater exchanges. Dynamic temperature patterns between the stream and underlying sediments are typical, due to large stream surface area to volume ratios relative to other surfacewater bodies. Heat is a naturally occurring tracer, free from (real or perceived) issues of contamination associated with use of chemical tracers in stream environments. The use of heat as a tracer relies on the measurement of temperature gradients, and temperature is an extremely robust parameter to monitor. Temperature data is immediately available as opposed to chemical tracers, which often require significant laboratory analysis. In this work, we report on the progress in the use of heat as a tracer to determine the hydraulic conductance of the streambed along the middle reaches of the Russian River, located west of Santa Rosa, CA. The general hydrological setting is described and the unique matter in which the water resources are managed in an environment of increasing population, a rapid shift to agricultural crops requiring more irrigation, and a series of fishery related mandates.

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