Quantity and quality of streamflow in the White River basin, Colorado and Utah

Water-Resources Investigations Report 84-4022

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The water quality and flow of existing streams in the White River basin, located in northwestern Colorado and northeastern Utah, are adequate for present uses, but future development (such as energy) may affect stream quality and quantity. Present conditions are described as a baseline to enable planners to allocate available water and to measure changes in quantity and quality of water in the future. The White River basin contains extensive energy resources consisting of oil, natural gas, coal, and oil shale. Large quantities of water will be required for energy-resource development and associated municipal and industrial uses. An average of 70% of the annual flow in the White River occurs during May, June, and July as a result of snowmelt runoff. The 7-day, 10-year low-flow discharges/sq mi and the 1-day, 25-year high-flow discharges/sq mi are larger in the eastern part of the basin than in the western part. Flow-duration curves indicate that high flows in the White River and the North and South Fork White Rivers result mainly from snowmelt runoff and that base flow is sustained throughout the year by groundwater discharge from the alluvial and bedrock aquifers. Water type varies in the basin; however, calcium and sodium are the dominantly occurring cations and sulfate and bicarbonate are the dominantly occurring anions. Computed total annual dissolved-solids loads in the White River range from 31 ,800 tons/yr in the North Fork White River to 284,000 tons/yr at the mouth. A 10% increase to a 14% decrease of the dissolved-solids load could result at the mouth of the White River near Ouray, Utah. This corresponds to a 5% increase to a 10% decrease in dissolved-solids concentration. The seasonal pattern of stream temperatures was found to fit a harmonic curve. (Lantz-PTT)

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USGS Numbered Series
Quantity and quality of streamflow in the White River basin, Colorado and Utah
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
viii, 84 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.