Date of Award:

2014

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Plants, Soils, and Climate

Advisor/Chair:

Shih- Yu Wang

Abstract

Groundwater levels over northern Utah have undergone a declining trend since the 1960’s. This trend has made apparent the need to understand the relationship between climate and groundwater resources. Such necessary information is already in dire need in places such as California. At the close of 2013, California had experienced its driest year in recorded history, with severe drought continuing for the foreseeable future. Utah is the second driest state in the U.S., and therefore has been paying close attention to California’s current water crises. Water resource projections may prove to be one of the most vital pieces of information toward securing adequate water for those who are currently enduring such water shortages.

In order to accomplish the initial research necessary for developing a fundable proposal, we requested support from the Utah State University Research Catalyst Grant to (a) evaluate a state-of-the-art climate model (its ability to assess groundwater) against statewide groundwater wells and operational groundwater models, (b) reduce climate model uncertainties, (c) conduct a study in the form of observational well site evaluations, and (d) develop strategies to effectively disseminate information on Utah’s future groundwater budget to water managers and policy makers. This research is now fully funded externally by the Bureau of Reclamation.

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