USGS - Science for a Changing World

Annual Data Report UT-02-1

Water Resources Data, Utah, Water Year 2002

By D.E. Wilberg, J.R. Tibbetts, and Michael Enright

Prepared in cooperation with the
State of Utah and other cooperators and agencies


Water-resources data for the 2002 water year for Utah consist of records of stage, discharge, and water quality of streams; stage and contents of lakes and reservoirs; and water levels and water quality of ground water. This report contains discharge records for 163 gaging stations; stage and contents for 10 lakes and reservoirs; water quality for 24 hydrologic stations, and 64 wells; water levels for 66 observation wells; and precipitation for 2 stations. Additional water data were collected at various sites not involved in the systematic data-collection program and are published as miscellaneous measurements. These data represent that part of the National Water Data System collected by the U.S. Geological Survey and cooperating State and Federal agencies in Utah.

Hydrologic conditions for Utah can vary greatly across the State because of topography, geology, changing seasonal atmospheric conditions, and changes in climatic conditions from year to year. Mountain ranges and plateaus in many parts of Utah are characterized by steep slopes, sparse vegetation, thin soils, and, in areas such as the Colorado River Basin, large expanses of bedrock and steep-walled canyons. These conditions can lead to rapid runoff and flooding during much of the year. The large valleys and basins in the western part of Utah generally trend north, have a fairly flat topography, and are underlain with alluvial soils composed of clay, silt, sand, and gravel. Average annual precipitation in Utah ranges from about 5 inches in the Great Salt Lake Desert to about 60 inches on some of the State’s highest mountains. Precipitation in Utah results from three general atmospheric conditions: Pacific frontal systems (late fall through early spring), cutoff low-pressure systems (late spring and fall), and monsoonal thunderstorms (summer).

Water year 2002 was the third consecutive year of below-normal precipitation statewide and caused severe to extreme drought conditions throughout the State. Precipitation in Utah during the 2002 water year was less than normal (1961-90) at 12 selected precipitation-recording stations operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Utah. The 12 stations were selected to be representative of the areal, spatial, and topographic distribution of precipitation for the entire State. The average annual departure from normal precipitation for 12 stations in water year 2002 was -4.88 inches: the average departures for all stations in water years 2000 and 2001 were -4.23 inches and -2.11 inches, respectively (Herbert, and others, 2001 and 2002). During water year 2002, 8 of the 12 precipitation-recording stations recorded less than 5 inches of precipitation, although 5 of them had as much as 5 months of missing data. Of the stations with complete water year 2002 data, Callao recorded the least annual total precipitation (2.57 inches).

As a result of below-average precipitation and snowpack in much of the Utah and Rocky Mountain region, streamflow conditions in most major rivers in Utah have been below normal for the past 3 to 4 years. This section presents data from eight long-term streamflow-gaging stations that are maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey Utah District as part of a national streamflow-gaging station network. The stations were selected from a local network of more than 150 stations in Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho and are considered index stations because they generally reflect streamflow conditions in their local area. Major dams have regulated flow on the Colorado, Green, and San Juan Rivers upstream from the index sites since the early 1960s. The Beaver, Virgin, and Weber Rivers are slightly regulated by small headwater reservoirs or power-generating facilities. Smiths Fork and the Whiterocks River have small diversions in upper watershed areas but are not regulated upstream from the stations. Despite these modifications to the drainages, these index sites generally reflect hydrologic conditions in their respective watersheds, including snowpack and the amount of water stored in reservoirs.

This report is contained in the following file:


The file is readable with Adobe Acrobat Reader. The reader is available for free download from Adobe Systems Incorporated.


List of surface water stations, in downstream order, for which records are published in this volume
List of ground-water wells, by county, for which records are published in this volume
List of discontinued surface-water discharge or stage-only stations
List of discontinued surface-water-quality stations
Summary of Hydrologic Conditions
Definition of terms
Downstream order and station number
Numbering system for wells and miscellaneous sites
Special networks and programs
Explanation of stage- and water-discharge records
Collection and computation of data
Data presentation
Station manuscript
Data table of daily mean values
Statistics of monthly mean data
Summary statistics
Accuracy of field data and computed results
Other data available
Explanation of water-quality records
Collection and examination of data
Water analysis
Surface-water-discharge and surface-water-quality records
Remarks codes
Dissolved-trace-element concentrations
Change in National Trends Network procedures
Water-quality control data
Blank samples
Reference samples
Replicate samples
Water temperature
Laboratory analysis
Accuracy of laboratory analysis
Explanation of ground-water level records
Collection of the data
Access to WATSTORE data
Publications on techniques of water-resources investigations
Gaging-station records
Hydrologic data at Union Pacific Causeway
Discharge measurements made at miscellaneous sites during water year 2002
Ground-water level records
Wells. .
Miscellaneous water-quality data
Quality of ground water, Wasatch County
Water-quality results of samples collected to monitor drought conditions
Water-quality data Oquirrh Mountains
Hydrologic data for Oquirrh Mountains
Quality of ground water in selected wells in Duchesne County


Send questions or comments about this report to the author, Jeff Phillips at 801.908.5000.

For more information about USGS activities in Utah, visit the USGS Utah District home page.

return to Utah home page

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
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