Fact Sheets

Groundwater Quality in the Antelope Valley, California

Dawson, B.J.M., and Belitz, K., 2012, U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2012-3033, 4 p.

Related Study Unit(s): Antelope Valley Groundwater Resources Used for Public Supply

The Antelope study area is approximately 1,600 square miles (4,144 square kilometers) and includes the Antelope Valley groundwater basin (California Department of Water Resources, 2003). Antelope Valley has an arid climate and is part of the Mojave Desert. Average annual rainfall is about 6 inches (15 centimeters). The study area has internal drainage, with runoff from the surrounding mountains draining towards dry lakebeds in the lower parts of the valley. Land use in the study area is approximately 68 percent (%) natural (mostly shrubland and grassland), 24% agricultural, and 8% urban. The primary crops are pasture and hay. The largest urban areas are the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster (2010 populations of 152,000 and 156,000, respectively). Groundwater in this basin is used for public and domestic water supply and for irrigation. The main water-bearing units are gravel, sand, silt, and clay derived from surrounding mountains. The primary aquifers in Antelope Valley are defined as those parts of the aquifers corresponding to the perforated intervals of wells listed in the California Department of Public Health database. Public-supply wells in Antelope Valley are completed to depths between 360 and 700 feet (110 to 213 meters), consist of solid casing from the land surface to a depth of 180 to 350 feet (55 to 107 meters), and are screened or perforated below the solid casing. Recharge to the groundwater system is primarily runoff from the surrounding mountains, and by direct infiltration of irrigation and sewer and septic systems. The primary sources of discharge are pumping wells and evapotranspiration near the dry lakebeds.