'Utah's groundwater: How is it affected by climate? Can we predict groundwater levels?'
Kirsti Hakala (Kirsti.Hakala2@gmail.com), Utah State University
In Utah, the declining trend of groundwater level, combined with the rapid growth of urban population and water withdrawal, are already a cause for concern for water planners throughout the state. An article published in the Salt Lake Tribune in September 2012 cited instances where groundwater wells have already run dry. Therefore, developing a reliable future groundwater assessment for Utah in light of expanding human needs and climate change is crucial. Previous research done by the Utah Climate Center at USU has identified a significant link of the Great Salt Lake level, as well as northern Utah climate, to the Pacific climate oscillations. Upon further comparing these findings to groundwater levels, we find groundwater also contains a link to Pacific climate oscillations. Using this newly found cohesion in spectral characteristics, we further involve the use of global climate models to predict groundwater levels for expected future climate. This study strives to facilitate the planning of groundwater resources and to aid policy makers in their endeavor to allocate groundwater in the most appropriate way.