Date of Award


Document Type

Master's report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Geology (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


John S. Gierke


Water springs are the principal source of water for many localities in Central America, including the municipality of Concepción Chiquirichapa in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. Long-term monitoring records are critical for informed water management as well as resource forecasting, though data are scarce and monitoring in low-resource settings presents special challenges. Spring discharge was monitored monthly in six municipal springs during the author’s Peace Corps assignment, from May 2011 to March 2012, and water level height was monitored in two spring boxes over the same time period using automated water-level loggers. The intention of this approach was to circumvent the need for frequent and time-intensive manual measurement by identifying a fixed relationship between discharge and water level.

No such relationship was identified, but the water level record reveals that spring yield increased for four months following Tropical Depression 12E in October 2011. This suggests that the relationship between extreme precipitation events and long-term water spring yields in Concepción should be examined further. These limited discharge data also indicate that aquifer baseflow recession and catchment water balance could be successfully characterized if a long-term discharge record were established.

This study also presents technical and social considerations for selecting a methodology for spring discharge measurement and highlights the importance of local interest in conducting successful community-based research in intercultural low-resource settings.