Event Title

Characterizing Human-Affected Watersheds: Weber River to the Great Salt Lake

Location

Eccles Conference Center

Event Website

http://water.usu.edu/

Start Date

3-27-2006 8:45 AM

End Date

3-27-2006 9:00 AM

Description

Human behavior underlies many changes in hydrologic systems of the arid west. Yet the underlying reasons that cause people to affect hydrologic systems have only received limited exploration by the hydrologic community. These systems involve human-related feedbacks and delays that must be considered as hydrologists attempt to discern the causes of observed changes in fluxes, pathways and stores of water and solutes. For example, converting agricultural land to urban use changes the timing, magnitude and chemistry of water flowing through the system from a seasonal agricultural supply/discharge pattern to a more continuous urban pattern. Personal choice, access to non-farming jobs, water rights status and the hardship of long term drought play key roles in determining whether commercial farmland will be sold for urban development. As land is taken out of production, and water is conserved by farmers and urban residents, the downstream hydrologic system can be modified in unanticipated ways. Changes in the isotopic composition of water sampled in human-affected watersheds provide valuable insight regarding spatial and temporal variations in hydrologic processes and human impacts. The 6475 km2 Weber River drainage system of northern Utah is characterized by a variety of landcover types, large elevation and urbanization gradients, multiple storage reservoirs, numerous diversions for municipal and agricultural purposes, and represents one of the major freshwater inputs into the Great Salt Lake. The hydrogen and oxygen stable isotope ratios of surface waters in the Weber River drainage to the Great Salt Lake varied from -131‰ to -45‰ and -17.2‰ to -0.9‰, respectively on the SMOW scale, between spring runoff and summer drought periods. These large gradients in isotope ratios reflect a combination of differential precipitation inputs along elevation gradients (approximately 3657 to 1280 m) and evaporative opportunities within the drainage system associated with reservoirs. These data provide a tool for quantifying the various inputs and outputs in the Weber River drainage system, and provide a framework for identifying complex human-affected hydrologic processes that influence water levels and chemistry of the Great Salt Lake.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Mar 27th, 8:45 AM Mar 27th, 9:00 AM

Characterizing Human-Affected Watersheds: Weber River to the Great Salt Lake

Eccles Conference Center

Human behavior underlies many changes in hydrologic systems of the arid west. Yet the underlying reasons that cause people to affect hydrologic systems have only received limited exploration by the hydrologic community. These systems involve human-related feedbacks and delays that must be considered as hydrologists attempt to discern the causes of observed changes in fluxes, pathways and stores of water and solutes. For example, converting agricultural land to urban use changes the timing, magnitude and chemistry of water flowing through the system from a seasonal agricultural supply/discharge pattern to a more continuous urban pattern. Personal choice, access to non-farming jobs, water rights status and the hardship of long term drought play key roles in determining whether commercial farmland will be sold for urban development. As land is taken out of production, and water is conserved by farmers and urban residents, the downstream hydrologic system can be modified in unanticipated ways. Changes in the isotopic composition of water sampled in human-affected watersheds provide valuable insight regarding spatial and temporal variations in hydrologic processes and human impacts. The 6475 km2 Weber River drainage system of northern Utah is characterized by a variety of landcover types, large elevation and urbanization gradients, multiple storage reservoirs, numerous diversions for municipal and agricultural purposes, and represents one of the major freshwater inputs into the Great Salt Lake. The hydrogen and oxygen stable isotope ratios of surface waters in the Weber River drainage to the Great Salt Lake varied from -131‰ to -45‰ and -17.2‰ to -0.9‰, respectively on the SMOW scale, between spring runoff and summer drought periods. These large gradients in isotope ratios reflect a combination of differential precipitation inputs along elevation gradients (approximately 3657 to 1280 m) and evaporative opportunities within the drainage system associated with reservoirs. These data provide a tool for quantifying the various inputs and outputs in the Weber River drainage system, and provide a framework for identifying complex human-affected hydrologic processes that influence water levels and chemistry of the Great Salt Lake.

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2006/AllAbstracts/19