In the past decade, extreme and exceptional droughts have significantly impacted many economic sectors in the US, especially in California, Oklahoma, and Texas. The record drought of 2011–2014 affected almost 90% of Texas areas and 95% of Oklahoma state areas. In 2011 alone, around $1.6 billion in agricultural production were lost as a result of drought in Oklahoma, and $7.6 billion in Texas. The agricultural sectors in Oklahoma and Texas rely mainly on groundwater resources from the non-replenishable Ogallala Aquifer in Panhandle and other aquifers around the states. The exceptional droughts of 2011–2014 not only caused meteorologically induced water scarcity (due to low precipitation), but also prompted farmers to overuse groundwater to maintain the imperiled production. Comprehensive studies on groundwater levels, and thus the actual water availability/scarcity across all aquifers in Oklahoma and Texas are still limited. Existing studies are mainly focused on a small number of selected sites or aquifers over a short time span of well monitoring, which does not allow for a holistic geospatial and temporal evaluation of groundwater level variations. This paper aims at addressing those issues with the proposed geospatial groundwater visualization model to assess availability of groundwater resources for agricultural, industrial, and municipal uses both in Oklahoma and Texas in the time frame of 2003–2014. The model is an evaluation tool that can be used by decision-makers for designing sustainable water management practices and by teachers and researchers for educational purposes.
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