Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Daniel H. Hoggan


Daniel H. Hoggan


Utah, located in the arid southwest, is a state that experience s chronic water shortages. The pattern of valleys and high mountain ranges that exists in the state produces sharply contrasting differences in climatic conditions . Desert valleys in the western portion may receive as few a s 4 inches of precipitation in a year while headwater areas in the Wasatch Mountains receive 60 inches or more. Wide cyclic as well a s geographical variations of precipitation added to uneven seasonal distribution makes development and efficient utilization of water resource s vital though difficult.

In order to make the most effective distribution and use of this precious water resource, the State of Utah is engaged in the preparation of a State Water Plan . The Utah Division of Water Resources, designated by the Utah Legislature to accept prime responsibility in this task, is cooperating with universities and other government agencies in this effort.

As a basis f or planning and further development, an assessment of available water resources and the current stage of development is essential . To facilitate this assessment the area of the state has been divided geographically into several hydrologic study areas and sub-areas , shown in Figure 1. The Division of Water Resources, the U.S. Geological Survey , the Utah Water Research Laboratory, and other organizations are cooperating in making hydrologic studies and reports for these areas . To provide for uniformity in this state -wide effort, the following general procedures have been established :

1. Review existing land use data for each hydrologic area and determine their adequacy for meeting the needs of the water planning program .

2. Conduct field land-us e surveys for those areas where inadequate information is available in order to delineate the various land use categories f or each hydrologic area and sub-area. Summarize the acreage data for use in the water budget studies .

3 . For each sub-area, determine t he quantity and quality of runoff . Also, assemble and prepare for computer processing relevant available data regarding the hydrology and climate of each area, together with appropriate maps and charts .

4 . Investigate relationships between precipitation and runoff with respect to both time and space . In this regard, factors influencing runoff, such as physiography, geology , vegetative cover, slope, elevation, and aspect are evaluated .

5 . Estimate all major depletions from the flow system of the area .

6 . Prepare water budgets which account for the time and spatial distribution of the total water.

The hydrologic inventory presented herein pertains to the Great Salt Lake Desert Area lying in Tooele County and in portions of Box Elder and Juab Counties. The shaded portion of Figure 1 depicts the area and sub areas included. Sparse population and widely scattered areas of development characterize this dry northwest region of the state . Because of the lack of hydrologic data for much of this relatively undeveloped region, only a rough appraisal and analysis of hydrologic conditions is possible.

This report covers steps 3 and 4 listed previously. The results of this report will be incorporated with information generated in the other steps listed and will be published as a composite report at a later date.