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Ogden Valley’s groundwater is sensitive to human use, research reveals

Urban and residential development in Ogden Valley prompted Utah Geological Survey (UGS) to study the quantity and quality of Ogden Valley’s surface water and groundwater. 

The study provides a better understanding of the role of aquifers in this region. Aquifer storage is important during dry years since water users can draw from this resource. The research revealed that the valley fill in Ogden is deeper than previously thought and therefore can store more water. 

Recharge and discharge of water into and out of the aquifer are critical to understanding. If the discharge is greater than recharge, resource depletion is taking place. Both are in balance in Ogden Valley, but more water use or less precipitation could tip that balance, allowing pollutants to reach the deep aquifer, an important drinking water source for Ogden City. The study revealed that the deep aquifer is already receiving recharge that started as precipitation less than 50 years ago.

About 158,000 acre-feet of water, which is over 50 billion gallons, interacts with the surface water and groundwater system of the drainage basin each year. Additionally, about 67,000 acre-feet of water, equaling over 20 billion gallons, annually flows through the valley-fill aquifers. 

As Ogden Valley’s population booms, there is a greater demand for water. Understanding the surface water and groundwater resources can help government leaders and citizens make better choices in water use.

Utah Geological Survey’s report can be found on the agency’s website or at the Utah Department of Natural Resources Map and Bookstore.