Tag Archive for: aquifer

Bill Lund, one of our senior scientists here at the Utah Geological Survey, weighs in on the issues surrounding groundwater mining and its effects in Iron County.


We can’t see aquifers, but these underground water reservoirs make life possible in the West. As we continue our series on Utah’s Uncertain Water Future, we explore the consequences of mining groundwater in Utah’s Cedar Valley.


Here’s a read covering the issues in Iron County surrounding the declining underground water levels, and its effects up above.


Since at least the 1960s, more water has been removed from Cedar Valley’s underground water supply than has been replenished, and that problem is only getting worse.


OFR-636 Cache Valley Aquifer, Cache County, Millville City

By: Paul Inkenbrandt

The City of Millville, located in a prime location for aquifer storage and recovery (ASR), is having issues with elevated nitrate in the Glenridge well, a public water supply sourced from the Cache Valley principal aquifer. To alleviate high nitrate, the city performed an initial injection and pumping test using the Glenridge well. Millville injected water from Garr Spring, another public water supply source of which they own water rights, into the Glenridge well for one week at a rate of 500 gallons per minute. They then pumped the well while monitoring geochemistry to determine the effects on the Cache Valley principal aquifer system. The pre-injection nitrate concentration in the Glenridge well was 7.65 mg/l nitrate as nitrogen, and the nitrate concentration after pumping more than 172% of the volume of water injected was 6.52 mg/l nitrate as nitrogen. There is likely some dispersion of the injected spring water via advection in the aquifer.


A small team of our geologists have been working in Snake Valley to determine future effects the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s proposal to tap Snake Valley aquifers could have on ranchers and fragile desert ecosystems. Check out this Salt Lake Tribune article for more information on the matter.


For years, Snake Valley ranchers and environmentalists have complained Las Vegas’ designs on rural groundwater would wreck their livelihoods and dry up fragile desert ecosystems in Utah’s West Desert.



With wells at Quichapa Lake having dropped approximately 75 feet since 1990, officials in Cedar City and Central Iron County Water Conservancy District are planning for additional water resources they can develop in the near future with the hopes of taking stress off the aquifer that geologists insist is being over-mined.



Cracks in the earth and settling of the ground in areas of the Cedar Valley, both believed to be caused by over-pumping of the underground aquifer, were the focus of a special Central Iron County Water Conservancy District work meeting March 27.

To find the publication, visit the Utah Natural Resources Map & Bookstore, or find it online HERE.

Watch these interviews featuring one of our geologists, Tyler Knudsen, talk about the ground fissures and their causes.


Giant cracks running through an Iron County subdivision are the result of drawing too much water from the ground, according to a new state report.


Report: Cedar Valley Ground Slowly Sinking


A new report from the Utah Geological Survey shows that the ground in Iron County’s Cedar Valley is slowly sinking due to groundwater pumping.



Over-pumping of groundwater from a deep aquifer in Cedar Valley for the past three decades has caused the ground to sink and crack, inflicting damage on a would-be subdivision and putting future development at risk.


Read further in this article from KCSG Television

Land Subsidence and Earth Fissures in Cedar Valley, Iron County, Utah


A just-released report from the Utah Geological Survey (UGS) shows the ground has been sinking in some areas around Cedar City for decades. The comprehensive 116-page report presents the results of an investigation of land subsidence and earth fissures in Cedar Valley, Iron County, Utah, primarily due to groundwater pumping. “The sediments in the Cedar Valley that form the groundwater aquifer contain a significant amount of fine-grained silt and clay sediments. Those sediments become compacted when water is removed and the ground begins to sink,” said Tyler Knudsen, UGS project geologist.

By: Paul Inkenbrandt, Kevin Thomas, and Christian Hardwick

North Logan City modified a gravel excavation site at the mouth of Green Canyon during the spring of 2011 to retain excess flow from the Green Canyon catchment. From August 2011 to March 2012, the Utah Geological Survey (UGS) monitored water flow into the gravel pit, and recorded gravity data and groundwater levels at several sites within a mile of the gravel pit. The UGS observed a significant increase in gravity from August to September in an area southwest of the gravel pit, which indicates an increase in the amount of water in that region from August to September. Based on the measured increase, water is traveling from the gravel pit towards the region of the principal aquifer of Cache Valley.




Just as a bank account dips when withdrawals exceed deposits, so the water table in the Cedar Valley Aquifer has been dropping over the past 70 years as discharge rates have exceeded recharge, and the losses likely will continue unless measures are taken to plug the problem.

That was the conclusion of a report delivered Thursday night to a meeting of the Central Iron County Water Conservancy District in Cedar City.

The report, compiled by senior geologist William Lund and his staff with the Utah Geological Survey (UGS), was commissioned by the conservancy district in 2009 after a ground fissure nearly 4 miles long was discovered snaking through a subdivision in the city of Enoch.