UTAH DIVISION OF WATER RIGHTS
TOOELE VALLEY GROUND-WATER MANAGEMENT PLAN
EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 27, 1996
TOOELE VALLEY GROUND-WATER MANAGEMENT PLAN
February 27, 1996
This document sets forth the State Engineer's policy for the management and
administration of ground-water in Tooele Valley. The objectives of this
policy are to provide a frame work for future ground-water development, be a
guide for action on water right applications, to prevent over utilization of
the resource, to maintain water quality and to protect prior water rights.
The boundaries of the Tooele Valley area for the purposes of this document are
the Tooele/Salt Lake County line on the east, the drainage divide between Rush
Valley and Tooele Valley on the south, the crest of the Stansbury Mountains on
the west, and Great Salt Lake on the north. This region contains about
Ground-water recharge to the area originates primarily in the Oquirrh and
Stansbury Mountains. A small amount of subsurface flow from Rush Valley is
also believed to proved recharge to the ground-water in Tooele Valley.
Discharge from the ground-water system occurs as evapotranspiration by
phreatophytes, discharge from wells and springs, and flow to Great Salt Lake.
Estimates of average annual recharge and discharge indicate that they are
approximately equal and area about 60,000 acre-feet each.
A review of ground-water rights for this area indicates that potential
withdrawals under perfected water rights and approved applications to
appropriate water total about 62,000 acre-feet per year. However, actual
withdrawals from wells are estimated at about 30,000 acre-feet per year. The
discrepancy between these numbers could be due to several factors such as not
all water rights being used to their fullest possible extent every year and
actual irrigation diversions may be less than the 4.0 acre-feet per acre used
in estimating potential withdrawals for irrigation water rights.
To better define the characteristics of the ground-water system, Tooele
County, Tooele City, Grantsville City, Department of Defense and the Division
of Water Rights have contracted with the U.S. Geological Survey to study the
ground-water resources of Tooele Valley. The primary objectives of this study
are to develop a three-dimensional ground-water flow model of the aquifer(s)
and to develop a solute-transport model of selected portions of Tooele Valley.
This study is scheduled to be complete in July 1997. The study should refine
our understanding of the ground-water system and help in the determination of
the safe annual yield. After this study is completed, all available data and
information will be analyzed and used in reviewing the policies of the State
Engineer in Tooele Valley.
A primary purpose of the policies of the State Engineer is to ensure that
actual well withdrawals do not exceed the long-term safe yield of the ground
-water system. If the situation arises in which withdrawals exceed the safe
yield of the aquifer, water rights will be distributed on the basis of
priority. Due to the number and quantity of perfected and approved
appropriations for ground-water in Tooele Valley and the uncertainty of
whether any additional water remains to be appropriated, the State Engineer is
closing Tooele Valley to all new appropriations effective February 27, 1996.
The prior policy of the State Engineer has allowed appropriations for small
domestic uses. Such applications which were filed prior to February 27, 1996,
will be processed and action taken. All applications to appropriate filed
after this date will be held until such time as a determination is made as to
the availability of unappropriated ground-water. This policy does not apply
to applications to appropriate shallow ground-water (less than 10 feet from
the ground surface) or surface water which would otherwise flow to Great Salt
The State Engineer will evaluate future change applications which are filed on
their own individual merits and for effects on other wells and the ground-water
system. Change applications will be critically reviewed if they seek to
move the point of diversion a large distance or to convert a surface water
right to ground-water.
Requests for extension of time to place water to beneficial use for pending
applications will be critically reviewed as per Section 73-3-12 of the Utah
Code. If the State Engineer finds unjustified delays or a lack of due
diligence, the request may be granted in part, the priority of the application
reduced or the request may be denied entirely.
The State Engineer encourages all water users to protect and conserve this
valuable ground-water resource. We have a limited amount of ground-water
available in Tooele Valley and it is imperative that it be used wisely.
Comments or suggestions are welcome on methods to optimize its use.