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Scientific Investigations Report 2008-5049

Version 2.0, January, 2011
Prepared in cooperation with
Central Utah Water Conservancy District; Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District representing Draper City; Highland Water Company; Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water Rights; and the municipalities of Alpine, American Fork, Cedar Hills, Eagle Mountain, Highland, Lehi, Lindon, Orem, Pleasant Grove, Provo, Saratoga Springs, and Vinyard

Three-Dimensional Numerical Model of Ground-Water Flow in Northern Utah Valley, Utah County, Utah

By Philip M. Gardner

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (12.6 MB)Abstract

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.

Revised January 6, 2011

First posted January 15, 2009

For additional information contact:
Director, Utah Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
2329 Orton Circle
Salt Lake City, Utah 84119-2047

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Gardner, P.M., 2009, Three-dimensional numerical model of ground-water flow in northern Utah Valley, Utah County, Utah: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2008-5049, 95 p.




Modeling Approach

Model Construction

Model Calibration

Model Limitations

Hypothetical Simulations



References Cited


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