Seeking Moab’s missing groundwater

Groundwater is an important resource for Utah’s Grand and San Juan counties, and provides nearly 100 percent of the drinking water for the city of Moab. Surface water in the Moab area is fully allocated, and with the population growing, it is important to find how much groundwater is available. So University of Utah geology and geophysics professor Kip Solomon and graduate student Nora Nelson are working with U.S. Geological Survey researchers to find “missing” groundwater in Spanish Valley, south of Moab. Spanish Valley’s groundwater resources last were evaluated in 1970. However, more recent sampling of groundwater at the valley’s downstream end failed to find much of the groundwater that was included in the 1970 evaluation. While groundwater is by far the largest reservoir of usable fresh water on Earth, replenishment rates are highly variable and difficult to measure, which complicates management decisions that seek to use groundwater in a sustainable manner.

Kip Solomon, office 801-581-7231, cell 801-718-6921, kip.solomon@utah.edu