2007-2008 Supercomputing Challenge New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge


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    Team Number: 063

    School Name: Goddard High School

    Area of Science: Hydrology

    Project Title: Computer Analysis of Saline Encroachment Into The Fresh Water Artesian Aquifer Near Roswell, NM

Final Report

I Problem Description
Our problem is to model the saline encroachment of the Roswell Basin artesian aquifer by means of computer modeling. Around the turn of the 20th century through the early sixties, farmers were using too much water from the aquifer and eventually began pumping up salty water. The salty water was being pumped up into the crops and killing them. Due to regulation, pumpage was decreased in the early sixties to prevent salt water from continuing to kill crops. We are modeling how the amount of pumpage effects saline encroachment. Our model will be used to help estimate and predict problem areas for salt encroachment.

II Computer Modeling
In order to model salt encroachment we must first understand the basic hydrology of aquifer water movement. This can be explained through Darcy's Law. Darcy's Law depicts the volume of water discharged from an area into another due to pressure changes. Because the salt is dissolved in water, we will assume that the salt moves along with the water. Our model assumes that salt encroachment occurs because dissolved salts acts like water. Most of the information in this model will be based on real data acquired from reports generated by the conservancy district. This data will include well location, permeability, water depth, head, saline concentrations, and gross aquifer pumpage. We will build a two dimensional array. Each cell in the array will represent an area of the aquifer. We will assume the aquifer has the same features at all depths for any one cell. Each cell will be assigned values to the variables acquired from the conservancy data. Using Darcy's law, the model will describe how water moves in the aquifer.

III Current Progress
To understand our problem we had to learn the history of the Roswell basin salt encroachment. At the start of our project we drove around the Roswell area examining wells tapped into the aquifer. Our guide was the conservancy director. He provided historical prospective. We saw wasteland that had once been fertile farmland. Salt encroachment had ruined the land. Then we had to learn about aquifer hydrology. We searched the Internet and found places that describe Darcy's Law to us. We have also learned some about hydrology from our mentor. After we obtained a basic understanding of the salt encroachment problem we were prepared to begin our computer model concept. Our model concept depicts the aquifer as a two dimensional array with each cell representing an area of the aquifer. Each cell influences and is influenced by its neighboring cells. In other words as aquifer conditions change in one cell it also changes the conditions in the cells surrounding it.

IV Expected Results
We hope to obtain a representation of the aquifer that can demonstrate the movement of the dissolved salt in the Roswell Basin. Salt movement will be based on the amount of pumpage from the wells. We will use this model for testing new or existing wells for maximum safe pumpage.

Team Members

Team Mail

Sponsoring Teacher

Project Advisor(s)

  • Mr. Fred Hennighausen
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