Bureau of Land Management Solar Energy Program Western Solar Plan
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Groundwater Modeling for the Brenda SEZ

The purpose of the Brenda Model is to assess potential impacts associated with groundwater withdrawals to support solar energy development in the vicinity of the Brenda SEZ.

Additional drawdown due to high-demand SEZ pumping after 20 years.
Additional drawdown due to high-demand SEZ pumping after 20 years.

The Brenda SEZ model is a newly constructed model of the Ranegras Basin developed using public-domain geologic, hydrogeologic, and well pumping information and relying on the U.S. Geological Survey's MODFLOW 2000 code. Pre- and post-processing was performed using Groundwater Modeling System (GMS) version 9. In the first stage of the modeling, calibration of hydraulic conductivity and recharge was performed relying on pre-development steady-state water levels and transient water levels. Next, transient modeling was performed relying on historical agricultural pumping information in the basin. Finally, current pumping continued for 20 years into the future and included SEZ pumping to evaluate the effect of SEZ water requirements on groundwater drawdown.

Argonne National Laboratory's Division of Environmental Science staff constructed the Brenda groundwater model, which received independent peer-review and review by BLM hydrology staff.

Brenda Model Report

The Brenda Model report has further information regarding its development and results.

Brenda Model Downloads

The Brenda Model files are contained in several .zip files. Please see the “ReadMe.txt” file for a description of the model files. Please Note: These files are large and may involve long download times.

zip file
Images (49 MB)

Note: Modeling was performed using GMS version 9.0 (64-bit) with a build date of March 25, 2013. The files are packaged in several .zip files. When unzipped, they may be useable by older or newer versions of GMS or by other commercial graphical user interfaces; however, functionality cannot be guaranteed.

Alterations to the Brenda Model could be made with the incorporation of new data regarding the hydrogeological framework and aquifer parameter values. As projects are planned, constructed, and begin operations, additional groundwater pumping scenarios can be analyzed and new data on head observations in monitoring wells can be used to refine the model.

For questions regarding the Brenda Model, please contact John Quinn.

Updated: 12/20/2013