Document Type


Publication Date

January 1982


In arid Utah practically all of the replenishable surface water supplies are nearly fully developed. At least some groundwater resources are being used in every basin. Groundwater use is expanding throughout the state and in some areas the draft is nearly equal to the sustained yield. Irrigated agriculture is the major water user. Multiple reuse of water is common in many areas, but as salinity increases with each cycle of usage, salinity also is usually the limiting factor for usefulness. Effective control of salinity buildup will permit more efficient and more extensive use of the state’s waters with potentially large benefits to irrigated agriculture. This report describes physical and chemical processes which contribute to salinity buildup and suggests methods that might be used to control it. Some areas are described where groundwater salinity is becoming a serious problem in the state. Hypothetical cases of salinity buildup are portrayed graphically to illustrate the relationship to time and the effects of the various processes. Emphasis is upon groundwater, but control of surface water salinity is also addressed as these resources are often inextricably interrelated.