Utah Water Science Center
What We Do
The Utah Water Science Center (WSC) is one of 48 Water Science Centers in the Water Resources Discipline of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The Water Science Center's mission is to collect, analyze and disseminate the impartial hydrologic data and information needed to wisely manage water resources for the people of the United States and the state of Utah.
What We Do
- We operate local and statewide networks to collect high-quality data that define natural and human-induced hydrologic conditions.
- We analyze hydrologic processes through investigations and research to increase understanding of important water-resource issues and to promote informed decision making.
- We maintain real-time and historical databases and publish peer-reviewed interpretive and data reports to disseminate unbiased hydrologic information.
To assure that our work is relevant and useful, we form partnerships with Federal, State, and local agencies, and other public organizations.
Funding for the Utah Water Science Center comes from a variety of sources, including direct Federal appropriations, other Federal agencies, and a cooperative program that allows the Utah Water Science Center to partially match funding with state and local agencies. Information concerning USGS products and services can be obtained from:
The Utah WSC home page provides direct access to current and historical USGS streamflow data, a bibliography of Utah Water Science Center reports, and much more about USGS operations in the state of Utah.
Basic hydrologic data collection, processing, analysis, dissemination, and archiving are major parts of the Utah Water Science Center program. Streamflow data, for example, are used for flood and water-supply forecasts, planning and design, river regulation, streamflow statistics, and research investigations. Much of the data are available on a near-real-time basis by satellite telemetry. Types of data currently collected include:
- Streamflow data for approximately 140 gaging stations
- Ground-water level data at approximately 1,000 wells
- Stream-sediment transport data
- Climate data
USGS data are stored and maintained in long-term, quality-assured databases. The databases contain data for Utah and the rest of the nation and are accessible to the public. The data include:
- Streamflow, reservoir, and lake data
- Ground-water data
- Continuous and discrete water-quality data
- Water-use data
- Geographic Information System (GIS) data
The chief purpose of hydrologic projects is to help cooperating agencies solve water problems. For example, investigative results have been used to manage storm-water runoff, to develop ground-water management plans, and to identify areas of water-quality degradation. These investigations address many water issues:
- Water-quantity and -quality assessments
- Toxic substances in natural waters and biota
- Rural and urban nonpoint pollution
- Saltwater intrusion
- Surface-water / ground-water interactions
- Sediment transport and chemistry
- Effects of climate change
- Wetland functions and hydrology
- Aquifer and streamflow characterizations
- Frequency and magnitude of droughts and floods
The Utah Water Science Center uses state-of-the-art as well as traditional methods that include quality assurance and quality control:
- Watershed modeling
- Flood and low-flow frequency analysis
- Sediment and chemical load determination
- Aquifer testing
- Aquatic testing
- Aquatic community analysis
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
- Acoustic doppler velocity measurements
- Ground-water age dating
- Surface and borehole geophysics
- Evapotranspiration analysis
- Ground-water recharge modeling
- Solute-transport modeling
- Geochemical modeling
- Ground-water flow modeling
- Water, sediment, and tissue analysis
Water-quality samples are collected and analyzed for a wide range of constituents, including major inorganics, nutrients, trace elements, dissolved gases, pesticides, isotopes, organic solvents, petrochemicals, and biological indicators.