Five areas within the Bear River drainage of southeastern Idaho offer potential for further development of ground water--the valley north of Bear Lake, north of Soda Springs, Gem Valley, Cache Valley in Idaho, and Malad Valley in Idaho. Saturated deposits north of Bear Lake are too fine-textured to yield large quantities to wells; the areas north of Soda Springs and in Gem Valley would provide large yields, but at the expense of current beneficial discharge. Northern Cache Valley has small areas of high yield in the northwestern part, but total annual yield would be only about 20,000 acre-feet and seasonal water-level fluctuation would be large.
Malad Valley contains a large aquifer system within valley fill underlying about 75 square miles. The aquifer system is several hundred feet thick, and contains about 1.8 million acre-feet of water in storage in the top 300 feet of saturated thickness. Average annual recharge to the valley-fill aquifer is about 64,000 acre-feet. Lowering of the water level 100 feet uniformly over the valley area would theoretically yield about 300,000 acre-feet from storage and salvage a present-day large nonbeneficial discharge. Sufficient water to irrigate all lands in a planned project near Samaria could be pumped with a maximum 200-foot pumping lift and then delivered by gravity flow. Such pumping would cause water-level lowering of a few feet to a few tens of feet in present artesian areas, and would cause many present-day artesian wells to cease flowing at land surface. Chemical-quality problems in Malad Valley seem not to be sufficient to prohibit development and use of the ground-water resource.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Availability of ground water for large-scale use in the Malad Valley-Bear River areas of southeastern Idaho: an initial assessment
U.S. Geological Survey
Idaho Water Science Center
Report: iv, 40 p.; 3 Plates: 27.40 x 21.88 inches and smaller