Watershed Management and Water Production Study for State of Utah
The amount of water produced from a watershed depends on the climate, soils, geology, land cover and land use. Precipitation water inputs in the form of rain or snow are partitioned by the watershed into evapotranspiration, runoff and groundwater recharge. This study has examined factors that may impact the production of runoff from Utah watersheds, focusing on factors related to land and watershed management. Specifically we are interested in how land use changes, such as afforestation, deforestation, agricultural, urban, industrial and mining development, impact runoff. The scale of interest is regional subbasins at the USGS cataloging unit 8 digit Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) scale (http://water.usgs.gov/GIS/huc.html). Twelve 8 digit HUCs in Utah, with an average area of 4500 km2 were selected for this study. Within these subbasins we identified a total of 39 watersheds draining to USGS streamflow gages, chosen either from the USGS Hydroclimatic Climatic Data Network of gages that are minimally impacted by anthropogenic alterations, or to be representative of large areas within the chosen HUCs with long relatively continuous streamflow records. In each of these watersheds we examined trends in precipitation, temperature, snow, streamflow and runoff ratio. Runoff ratio is the fraction of precipitation that becomes streamflow. We also examined land use and land cover information for these watersheds from the national land cover dataset, southwest regional GAP analyses and the Utah division of water resources water related land use inventory.