• Potential recharge estimates of Arctic lakes to aid water management on the North Slope of Alaska

      Cormack, Chad Michael (2011-08)
      Water is a valuable asset to the petroleum industry on the North Slope of Alaska. Current water-permitting processes do not take into account watershed principles in the allocation of water resources. This has primarily been due to lack of information related to tundra lake watersheds and associated water use. This thesis evaluated several study lakes located within the eastern portion of the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska (NPRA) to demonstrate how watershed and meteorological parameters could be incorporated into water-use management practices. Watershed areas were delineated for the study lakes digitally with geographic information systems (GIS) and Rivertools software. Estimates for rainfall, snow-water equivalent, and evapotranspiration were combined to calculate potential recharge estimates for each individual study lake. A potential recharge tool was developed to help calculate potential recharge values. This tool can be a good first step for industry to begin to apply watershed principles into the water-permitting processes. For the study lakes analyzed, it was concluded that water withdrawal would not adversely affect the sustainability of the water bodies. With the current level of available data, recharge estimates are accurate enough to be used in permitting processes. It is recommended that geographic lake parameters (i.e., watershed and lake areas) and meteorological parameters (e.g., rain, snow, evapotranspiration) are further studied and included in future lake permits.