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Advancing Remote Sensing and Machine Learning-Driven Frameworks for Groundwater Withdrawal Estimation in Arizona: Linking Land Subsidence to Groundwater Withdrawals
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  • Sayantan Majumdar,
  • Ryan Smith,
  • Brian Conway,
  • V Lakshmi
Sayantan Majumdar
Colorado State University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Ryan Smith
Colorado State University
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Brian Conway
Arizona Department of Water Resources
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V Lakshmi
University of Virginia
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Groundwater plays a crucial role in sustaining global food security but is being over-exploited in many basins of the world. Despite its importance and finite availability, local-scale monitoring of groundwater withdrawals required for sustainable water management practices is not carried out in most countries, including the United States. In this study, we combine publicly available datasets into a machine learning framework for estimating groundwater withdrawals over the state of Arizona. Here we include evapotranspiration, precipitation, crop coefficients, land use, well density, and watershed stress metrics for our predictions. We employ random forests to predict groundwater withdrawals from 2002-2020 at a 2 km spatial resolution using in-situ groundwater withdrawal data available for Arizona Active Management Areas (AMA) and Irrigation Non-Expansion Areas (INA) from 2002-2009 for training and 2010-2020 for validating the model respectively. The results show high training (R2≈ 0.86) and good testing (R2≈ 0.69) scores with normalized mean absolute error (NMAE) ≈ 0.64 and normalized root mean square error (NRMSE) ≈ 2.36 for the AMA/INA region. Using this method, we spatially extrapolate the existing groundwater withdrawal estimates to the entire state and observe the co-occurrence of both groundwater withdrawals and land subsidence in South-Central and Southern Arizona. Our model predicts groundwater withdrawals in regions where production wells are present on agricultural lands and subsidence is observed from Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR), but withdrawals are not monitored. By performing a comparative analysis over these regions using the predicted groundwater withdrawals and InSAR-based land subsidence estimates, we observe a varying degree of subsidence for similar volumes of withdrawals in different basins. The performance of our model on validation datasets and its favorable comparison with independent water use proxies such as InSAR demonstrate the effectiveness and extensibility of our combined remote sensing and machine learning-based approach.
15 Oct 2021Submitted to Hydrological Processes
15 Oct 2021Submission Checks Completed
15 Oct 2021Assigned to Editor
15 Oct 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
29 Mar 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
13 Apr 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Major
28 May 20221st Revision Received
28 May 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
28 May 2022Submission Checks Completed
28 May 2022Assigned to Editor
14 Oct 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
15 Oct 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
31 Oct 20222nd Revision Received
02 Nov 2022Submission Checks Completed
02 Nov 2022Assigned to Editor
02 Nov 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
03 Nov 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
03 Nov 2022Editorial Decision: Accept
Nov 2022Published in Hydrological Processes volume 36 issue 11. 10.1002/hyp.14757