Agencies Begin Work on Treasure Valley Groundwater-Flow Model

Release Date:

10 New Streamgages Installed to Help Manage the Valuable Water Resources

USGS streamgage
USGS streamgage 13210810, Fifteen Mile Creek near Middleton, Idaho, is one of 10 streamgages the USGS has installed on Treasure Valley drains in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Water Resources. Data from these streamgages will be incorporated into a groundwater-flow model of the Treasure Valley aquifer system. (Credit: John Carricaburu, USGS. Public domain.)

BOISE, Idaho — The U.S. Geological Survey and the Idaho Department of Water Resources have started developing a groundwater-flow model for Idaho’s Treasure Valley aquifer system. Resource managers will use the new model to simulate groundwater flow in the aquifer system underlying the Treasure Valley, an area that includes about 38 percent of Idaho’s current population. The Treasure Valley’s population is projected to grow to 1.6 million by 2065, increasing demands for water.

 

In May, the Idaho Water Resource Board approved funding for the first year of the five-year project. The USGS is providing matching funding and is collaborating with IDWR on model development. The effort continues the successful Federal-state partnership that developed groundwater-flow models for the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie and Wood River Valley aquifer systems.

 

"We need a tool for predicting the impacts of water-use changes, but we have some data gaps to overcome,” said IDWR Hydrology Section Manager Sean Vincent. “Most of the money will be spent on data collection and data processing."

 

To begin filling those data gaps, the USGS installed 10 new real-time streamgages on drains along the lower Boise River from Eagle to Parma. The streamgages will monitor the amount of shallow groundwater the aquifer system discharges to surface water. This was a missing component in previously developed models.

 

The USGS and IDWR are forming a technical advisory committee to share information and to gather input from stakeholders. The committee will meet regularly until the model is completed in 2021.

 

The USGS Idaho Water Science Center provides reliable, impartial scientific information about surface and ground water, water quality, and water use to citizens and local, state, tribal and federal partners. The center manages a statewide network of more than 200 real-time streamgages, some providing more than 100 years of data.