San Bernardino Optimal Basin Management

Understanding Complex Models Using Visualization: San Bernardino Valley Groundwater Basin, Southern California

Zhen Li and Wesley R. Danskin U.S. Geological Survey,,, San Diego, California, USA

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Continuing advances in simulation software, such as MODFLOW, have made it possible to represent many different physical processes. Unfortunately, this increase in both the number and complexity of simulated processes can create challenges for scientists constructing the model, decision makers using the results, and the lay public supporting the work. Three examples of visualization are developed to better understand key hydrodynamic interactions in the San Bernardino Valley ground-water basin. Of primary interest are the relations between pumpage and stream losses, and between stream recharge and potential liquefaction. The visualizations combine historical data and model results in animated maps and graphs for the simulation period 1945—2030. The resulting video clips contribute to improved understanding and insights about ground-water flow in the basin and are viewed frequently by project scientists, by water managers at board meetings, and by the lay public on a project website. The full text of this paper, including color figures and animations, is available at

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picture of video
Groundwater pumpage Video
picture of video
Streamflow gains and losses Video
picture of video
Depth to ground water Video
Problem: Video will not display.
Solution: Allow pop-ups. Open IE 7.x go Tools —> Manage Add-ons —> Enable or Disable add-ons; then disable the Shockwave ActiveX Control (not Shockwave Flasch Object). Refresh page.

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San Bernardino Optimal Basin Management

Welcome to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) San Bernardino Optimal Basin Management website. This site provides hydrologic data collected or compiled by the USGS in the San Bernardino area; some additional data may be available from the USGS database National Water Information System (NWIS).

Project Chief: Wes Danskin
Phone: 619-225-6132

Questions about Optimal Basin Management? Please contact Wes Danskin (email: or send a letter). 619.225.6132