Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Winter Snow Pack

Will it ever stop snowing??? A dedicated field hand measrues the snow at a spring in the Mt. Holly area above Beaver.

Though it feels like a very heavy snow year, we have several years of drought before this year so there is a lot of catching up to do. We also need to keep in mind that each year the population that the "average precipitation year" needs to supply more and more people. In the Salt Lake Valley, the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District has estimated that the average precipitation year will only supply the Wasatch front for another 20 to 30 years depending on how successful conservation efforts are. Try to keep this in mind when planning your new or old home and your landscaping.
The State of Utah's water supply outlook can be found at this link.

Water Conservation Ideas

What are the top five things you can do to conserve water in your home?
1. Stop Those Leaks!
2. Replace your old Toilet, the largest water user inside your home.
3. Replace your Clothes Washer, the second largest water user in your home.
4. Plant the Right Plants with Proper Landscape Design & Irrigation
5. Water Only What Your Plants Need
More on these actions and other ideas for water conservation form this website:

I am currently looking at what to replant in my new (new to me) home. More on this as the snow melts.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Planet in Peril

On CNN’s Planet in Peril last night, there was a special on water contamination for an Iron Mine into a river that villages downstream depended on for a water supply and for growing rice. The contamination is possibly linked to high cancer rates in the villages downstream.

I was watching it with a friend that was amazed the Chinese government and world would let something like that happen. What came to mind were the similar recent situations in the United States.
The Iron Mountain Mine in Northern California (30 miles from where I grew up) is located at the headwaters of the Sacramento River, a major agricultural water supply.

And closer to where I live now, from 1965 to 1989 Kennecott Utah Copper discharged (leaked) 4 million gallons of similar quality water a day into the aquifer that is shared by several municipalities in the southwest Salt Lake County.

Discharge of such waters was common practice in the Untied States up until the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Mining companies in the US including Kennecott Utah Copper currently have very aggressive environmental programs to not only clean up the problems from the past and pro-active programs to keep from creating new environmental issues. Hopefully mining companies in China will follow the lead set by mines in the US.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Private Well Water Protection

Do you live in a rural area and have your own private well and septic system. Remember that everything that goes into your toilet, sink, or shower drain ends up in the water table you or your neighbors pump from. As well in rural areas one should be careful about household hazardous wastes and chemicals used on lawns.
Below are some of the Utah Division of Drinking Waters fact sheets on each of these issues. These sheets were put together for protection zones for Public Water Systems but work in rural areas where the aquifer is shared by neighbors as well.




USGS Work on Basin and Range Carbonate Rock Aquifer System

Below is a link to the work being done on the Basin and Range Carbonate Rock Aquifer System (BARCAS) by the USGS.

Below is NPR story on same study area.


Water Resources In the Great Basin Carbonate Aquifer

For those of you following the ongoing proposed extraction of water from the carbonate aquifer resource for the Utah-Nevada border in the Snake Valley area, this link will keep you posted on the Utah Geological Surveys study of the area, http://geology.utah.gov/esp/snake_valley_project/index.htm .

The carbonate aquifer groundwater resource of Utah, Nevada, and Idaho is a very important renewable source and the need for a proper evaluation of the resource and recharge is critical. Having drilled hundreds of holes and mapped miles of underground workings in this aquifer in the 1980’s during gold exploration programs, I am very familiar with the inconsistencies of the aquifer. In one area there may be large solution cavities, in others three may be only a few gallons per minute hundreds of feet into the aquifer.