Nevada Water Science Center

Water Resources of the Upper Humboldt River Basin

Elko County officials and citizens are concerned about growing demand for groundwater within the county and demands for groundwater that are occurring elsewhere in the state. Because the Humboldt River is fully appropriated, any additional water needed to support growth in the upper Humboldt River Basin will have to come from groundwater. County and state water-resource managers need information that will enable them to make informed decisions regarding future use and development of the water resources of the upper Humboldt River Basin.

Research Plan

A generalized hydrologic budget will be developed for the upper Humboldt River Basin.

Generalized Hydrologic Budget:

  • Update and refine the work of Eakin and Lamke based on
    • recent estimates of precipitation and streamflow made by prudic and others,
    • estimates of evapotranspiration in upland areas made by Berger and others, and
    • estimates of evapotranspiration and subsurface flow made as part of this study.

Background

The upper Humboldt River Basin consists of eight hydrographic areas that together comprise the headwaters of the Humboldt River in northeastern Nevada. From west to east, the main tributaries of the Humboldt River are South Fork Humboldt River, North Fork Humboldt River, Lamoille Creek, Marys River, and Bishop Creek. Elko County officials and citizens are concerned about growing demand for groundwater within the county and demands for groundwater that are occurring elsewhere in the state. Because the Humboldt River is fully appropriated, any additional water needed to support growth in the upper Humboldt River Basin will have to come from groundwater. However, groundwater and streamflow are intimately connected in lowland areas where ground-water discharge to the stream channel maintains streamflow during low-flow conditions. In addition, infiltration of streamflow is a source of groundwater recharge in upland areas.

Any decisions to further develop the ground-water resources of the upper Humboldt River Basin will have to be balanced against the potential effects of such development on streamflow. County and state water-resource managers need information that will enable them to make informed decisions regarding future use and development of the water resources of the upper Humboldt River Basin. To address these needs and concerns, USGS, in cooperation with Elko County, has undertaken a study of the water resources of the upper Humboldt River Basin.

Publications

Humboldt River Basin Bibliography: List of USGS Nevada WSC publications about the Humboldt River Basin, including cooperative State publications.

Quick Facts

 

Location: Humboldt River Basin, central Nevada

Start Date: 2007

End Date: 2011

Cooperator: Elko County

Contact Information

 

Russ Plume

USGS Nevada Water Science Center

2730 N. Deer Run Rd.

Carson City, NV 89701

phone: (775) 887-7612

Email: rwplume@usgs.gov

 

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URL: https://nevada.usgs.gov/water/studyareas/upperhumboldt.htm
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page Last Modified: May 2, 2012