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Three-dimensional numerical model of ground-water flow in northern Utah Valley, Utah County, Utah

January 23, 2009

A three-dimensional, finite-difference, numerical model was developed to simulate ground-water flow in northern Utah Valley, Utah. The model includes expanded areal boundaries as compared to a previous ground-water flow model of the valley and incorporates more than 20 years of additional hydrologic data. The model boundary was generally expanded to include the bedrock in the surrounding mountain block as far as the surface-water divide. New wells have been drilled in basin-fill deposits near the consolidated-rock boundary. Simulating the hydrologic conditions within the bedrock allows for improved simulation of the effect of withdrawal from these wells. The inclusion of bedrock also allowed for the use of a recharge model that provided an alternative method for spatially distributing areal recharge over the mountains.

The model was calibrated to steady- and transient-state conditions. The steady-state simulation was developed and calibrated by using hydrologic data that represented average conditions for 1947. The transient-state simulation was developed and calibrated by using hydrologic data collected from 1947 to 2004. Areally, the model grid is 79 rows by 70 columns, with variable cell size. Cells throughout most of the model domain represent 0.3 mile on each side. The largest cells are rectangular with dimensions of about 0.3 by 0.6 mile. The largest cells represent the mountain block on the eastern edge of the model domain where the least hydrologic data are available. Vertically, the aquifer system is divided into 4 layers which incorporate 11 hydrogeologic units. The model simulates recharge to the ground-water flow system as (1) infiltration of precipitation over the mountain block, (2) infiltration of precipitation over the valley floor, (3) infiltration of unconsumed irrigation water from fields, lawns, and gardens, (4) seepage from streams and canals, and (5) subsurface inflow from Cedar Valley. Discharge of ground water is simulated by the model to (1) flowing and pumping wells, (2) drains and springs, (3) evapotranspiration, (4) Utah Lake, (5) the Jordan River and mountain streams, and (6) Salt Lake Valley by subsurface outflow through the Jordan Narrows.

During steady-state calibration, variables were adjusted within probable ranges to minimize differences between model-computed and measured water levels as well as between model-computed and independently estimated flows that include: recharge by seepage from individual streams and canals, discharge by seepage to individual streams and the Jordan River, discharge to Utah Lake, discharge to drains and springs, discharge by evapotranspiration, and subsurface flows into and out of northern Utah Valley from Cedar Valley and to Salt Lake Valley, respectively. The transient-state simulation was calibrated to measured water levels and water-level changes with consideration given to annual changes in the flows listed above.

Publication Year 2009
Title Three-dimensional numerical model of ground-water flow in northern Utah Valley, Utah County, Utah
DOI 10.3133/sir20085049
Authors Philip M. Gardner
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2008-5049
Index ID sir20085049
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Utah Water Science Center