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Numerous studies have shown that stream water and shallow groundwater are tightly linked in alluvial settings, and that changes in stream stage are propagated rapidly across alluvial aquifers (Castro and Hornberger 1991, Sophocleous 1991). Thus, many researchers have assumed that stream stages approximate water tables in alluvial aquifers (Auble et al. 1994, Stromberg and Patten 1996). This assumption is valid in some cases but invalid in other cases, particularly in arid basin terrain and more humid mountain terrain. Even when this assumption is valid, this relationship only implies correlation and not causation so the potential effects of stream flow alterations on shallow groundwater and associated riparian vegetation remain unknown.

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Stream Systems Technology Center, p. 3-6

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