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Uinta and Green Rivers Water Development Projects

Purpose

The purpose of this project was to justify the growing need for new water supply projects in the Uinta Basin of Eastern Utah. Currently, water users in the basin are experiencing water shortages and water managers foresee significant municipal growth in cities and towns, new irrigated lands for agriculture, and a booming energy demand growth. A GoldSim model was developed for this project to determine the validity of new supplies, including trans-basin import water, on and off stream storage, and water right exchanges.

Utah River Water Supply Model

Approach

The model simulates existing water demands and the supplies available based on a 90-yr period of record. Once the model was calibrated and validated by comparison to an older legacy model, future water supply needs were evaluated in the model. The water allocation throughout this basin is coordinated through a complex water rights prioritization process that can become difficult to visualize. The graphical and modular aspects of GoldSim made it possible to construct a model that was simple to understand yet captured the complex water allocation process. A group of stakeholders, engineers, and decision-makers were tasked with choosing a water supply option among 12 scenarios that all were included in the model.

Results

The Uinta and Green River Water Supply model was used to assist with the decision making process during stakeholder meetings. During these meetings, participants deliberated over the costs and benefits of each of 12 project alternatives and narrowed the decision down to 3 options during the meeting using the results of the GoldSim model. Changes needed to be made on the fly followed by viewing of revised results immediately. The GoldSim software was able accommodate this need efficiently.

Utah River Water Supply Model

 

Making Better Decisions In An Uncertain World