Hydrology and snowmelt simulation of Snyderville Basin, Park City, and adjacent areas, Summit County, Utah

Technical Publication 115

Prepared by the United States Geological Survey in cooperation with the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water Rights; Park City; Summit County; and the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District
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Increasing residential and commercial development is placing increased demands on the ground- and surface-water resources of Snyderville Basin, Park City, and adjacent areas in the southwestern corner of Summit County, Utah. Data collected during 1993-95 were used to assess the quantity and quality of the water resources in the study area.

Ground water within the study area is present in consolidated rocks and unconsolidated valley fill. The complex geology makes it difficult to determine the degree of hydraulic connection between different blocks of consolidated rocks. Increased ground-water withdrawal during 1983- 95 generally has not affected ground-water levels. Ground-water withdrawal in some areas, however, caused seasonal fluctuations and a decline in ground-water levels from 1994 to 1995, despite greater-than-normal recharge in the spring of 1995.

Ground water generally has a dissolved-solids concentration that ranges from 200 to 600 mg/L. Higher sulfate concentrations in water from wells and springs near Park City and in McLeod Creek and East Canyon Creek than in other parts of the study area are the result of mixing with water that discharges from the Spiro Tunnel. The presence of chloride in water from wells and springs near Park City and in streams and wells near Interstate Highway 80 is probably caused by the dissolution of applied road salt. Chlorofluorocarbon analyses indicate that even though water levels rise within a few weeks of snowmelt, the water took 15 to 40 years to move from areas of recharge to areas of discharge.

Water budgets for the entire study area and for six subbasins were developed to better understand the hydrologic system. Ground-water recharge from precipitation made up about 80 percent of the ground-water recharge in the study area. Ground-water discharge to streams made up about 40 percent of the surface water in the study area and ground-water discharge to springs and mine tunnels made up about 25 percent. Increasing use of ground water has the potential to decrease discharge to streams and affect both the amount and quality of surface water in the study area. A comparison of the 1995 to 1994 water budgets emphasizes that the hydrologic system in the study area is very dependent upon the amount of annual precipitation. Although precipitation on the study area was much greater in 1995 than in 1994, most of the additional water resulted in additional streamflow and spring discharge that flows out of the study area. Ground-water levels and groundwater discharge are dependent upon annual precipitation and can vary substantially from year to year.

Snowmelt runoff was simulated to assist in estimating ground-water recharge to consolidated rock and unconsolidated valley fill. A topographically distributed snowmelt model controlled by independent inputs of net radiation, meteorological parameters, and snowcover properties was used to calculate the energy and mass balance of the snowcover.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
Other Government Series
Hydrology and snowmelt simulation of Snyderville Basin, Park City, and adjacent areas, Summit County, Utah
Series title:
Technical Publication
Series number:
Year Published:
Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water Rights
Publisher location:
Salt Lake City, UT
Contributing office(s):
Utah Water Science Center
vi, 84 p.
United States
Summit County
Park City
Other Geospatial:
East Canyon Creek;Mcleod Creek;Snyderville Basin;Spiro Tunnel
Universal Transverse Mercator projection