Water-Data Report UT-03-1

Water Resources Data, Utah, Water Year 2003

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

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


Water-resources data for the 2003 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 169 gaging stations; stage and contents for 10 lakes and reservoirs; water quality for 22 hydrologic stations, and 36 wells; water levels for 68 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 (Butler and Marsell, 1972). 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). Frontal systems usually move west-to-east across Utah and account for much of the mountain snowpack (U.S. Geological Survey, 1991). These systems can affect all or part of the State, depending on the prevailing jet stream (high-altitude winds). Before reaching Utah, Pacific frontal storms must first cross the Sierra and Cascade mountain ranges, where a large part of the original precipitation falls as rain and snow. Therefore, the storms are relatively dry upon reaching Utah, resulting in comparatively light precipitation over most of the State (Utah Climate Center, 2003). During some winters, a high-pressure ridge is dominant over the Western United States, and the jet stream is forced north or south of Utah, resulting in winter drought. When conducive, weather systems moving across Great Salt Lake acquire additional moisture from evaporation of lake water, enhancing precipitation in the local area. This is the so-called “lake effect.”

Cutoff low-pressure systems generally originate in the Pacific Ocean, are widespread and slow moving, and can produce large amounts of precipitation over an extended time (U.S. Geological Survey, 1991). These are typically dissipating tropical cyclones, including tropical storms and hurricanes. One such storm in late-September 1982 resulted in a monthly record 7.04 inches of rain at Salt Lake City and 13.47 inches of precipitation (including 45 inches of snow) in the nearby mountains, at Alta. Monsoonal thunderstorms frequently occur during the summer months when high temperatures and heating of the Earth’s surface produce strong thermals. Subtropical moisture originating in the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf of California can combine with these thermals and produce locally intense thunderstorms.

This report is contained in the following files:

WDR_UT03_part1.pdf, Contents, List of Stations, Discontinued stations, Hydrologic Conditions, Definitions, TWRI list, Map showing location of U.S. Geological Survey gaging stations in Utah (2.1 mb)

WDR_UT03_part2.pdf, Station manuscripts beginning with Colorado Main Stem, 09163500, Colorado River near Colorado-Utah State Line through Virgin River Basin, 09413900, Beaver Dam Wash near Enterprise, UT. (11.7 mb)

WDR_UT03_part3.pdf, Station manuscripts beginning with Great Basin, Great Salt Lake Basin, 10010000 Great Salt Lake at State Park Saltair Beach Boat Harbor, to 10242000, Coal Creek near Cedar City, UT; Partial record stations; Hydrologic Data as Union Pacific Railroad causeway; Discharge measurements made at miscellaneous sites; Discharge measurements at selected springs and tunnels; Monthly mean discharges at selected springs, tunnels, and mine workings; Ground-water levels; Miscellaneous water-quality data, Kennecott Utah Copper; National Water-Quality Assessment Program, Quality of ground water in selected domestic wells in or near oilfield activities in Duchesne County; Index. (12.3 mb)

Front and back covers are available as PDF files, also.

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


Report documentation page
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
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 records 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
Definition of terms
Publications on techniques of water-resources investigations
Surface-water records
Hydrologic data at Union Pacific Causeway
Discharge measurements made at miscellaneous sites during water year 2003
Hydrologic-discharge data for Oquirrh Mountains, Tooele County, Utah
Ground-water level records
Miscellaneous water-quality data
Wasatch County
Oquirrh Mountains, Tooele County, Kennecott Utah Copper Analysis
National Water Quality Assessment program
Quality of ground water in selected wells in Duchesne County


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

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

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
2329 Orton Circle, West Valley City, Ut, 84119

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
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Last modified: Friday, January 11 2013, 08:23:02 PM
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