Goodenough Spring, Texas, USA: Discharge and water chemistry of a large spring deeply submerged under the binational Amistad Reservoir

Research paper by Ray H. Kamps, Gregg S. Tatum, Mike Gault, Alan W. Groeger

Indexed on: 18 Dec '08Published on: 18 Dec '08Published in: Hydrogeology Journal


Goodenough Spring (Texas, USA) is a large spring near the border of the American state of Texas and the Mexican state of Coahuila, discharging into the international Amistad Reservoir on the river Rio Grande (Rio Bravo). Discharge was routinely measured from 1928 until 1968 to partition the flow of the river between the two countries in accordance with water-use treaties. Samples were analyzed for water-quality parameters in 1967–1968 prior to inundation under 45 m of Amistad Reservoir in 1968. Subsequently, discharge has been estimated indirectly by the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC). For the first direct measurements of the spring in 37 years, velocity and cross-sectional measurements were made and water samples collected in the summer of 2005 using advanced self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) techniques. Spring discharge was calculated at 2.03 m3 s–1, approximately one-half of the historical mean of 3.94 m3 s–1. In situ and laboratory analyses of samples for temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, specific conductance, alkalinity, nitrate-nitrogen, dissolved solids, chloride, sulfate, fluoride, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and iron showed the water quality to be very good for human consumption and crop irrigation. Measurement values are relatively unchanged from those reported 37 years prior.