The Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS) has determined “there is a sufficient quantity of good-quality groundwater in the Snake/Salt River basin to provide for the future.”
The WSGS completed its latest groundwater study on the Snake/Salt basin for the Wyoming Water Development Commission (WWDC).
“Aquifers in the combined Snake/Salt basin generally show fair to very good potential to meet expected groundwater resource demands in the next 20 years and probably well beyond,” said Karl Taboga, WSGS hydrogeologist. “Most notably, the widely used Quaternary-age alluvial aquifers, along the Snake and Salt rivers, continue to show the highest potential for sustainable development.”
The Snake/Salt River Basin Water Plan, Available Groundwater Determination (2011-2014) study is part of an “overall effort by the WSGS to assess groundwater in river basins throughout the state.”
According to the WSGS, the multi-year project is funded by the WWDC.
“Groundwater is especially important in the arid West, from freshwater drinking supplies to irrigating crops,” said Taboga.
Wyoming’s river basin plans are part of the WWDC’s efforts to develop and maintain state water plans for each basin.
“These plans are used to make decisions regarding the extent and location of groundwater resources within each basin,” said Jodie Pavlica, project manager with the Wyoming Water Development Office. “In many cases, the plans provide the first step in determining which aquifers yield sufficient groundwater to meet a project’s water quality and quantity requirements.”
As part of the project geologists with the WSGS, in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey, conducted a “full assessment of the aquifers of the Snake and Salt River Basin as well as a small upstream watershed in Idaho.”
The group also “estimated and mapped water-related information and evaluated other related studies and groundwater models.”