Groundwater Change in Sanpete County

UR Project: Land Use Related Groundwater Change: A Case Study of Sanpete County, Utah

Groundwater Change.jpg

For Professor Shujuan Li’s LAEP 3300 (Advanced Computer Applications in Landscape Architecture) class in the fall of 2010, Cameron Bodine (BLA 2011) and Allan Perry (BLA 2011) submitted a final project that examined the relationship between land-use change and groundwater dynamics in Sanpete County, UT. Using ArcGIS, the latest in geographic information system software, they studied groundwater changes within the San Pitch River Watershed over the past four decades.

It is clear that climate, including drought, plays a significant role in groundwater level. This is not the only component of groundwater change and fluctuation, however. -- Bodine and Perry, LAEP 3300 Final Project, Fall 2010

For their research, Bodine and Perry gathered two sets of data:

  • Groundwater level changes over the last 40 years in Sanpete County
  • Information on water land use over the last 40 years in Sanpete County

After analyzing the relationship between groundwater level changes and water land use, Bodine and Perry concluded a correlation exists. Their analysis showed that irrigation and high human activity factor into the stability of the groundwater level.

Research Experience and Valuable Skills

Bodine and Perry’s project involved sophisticated research methods. After gathering data from the USGS website, they used tools involving ArcGIS ArcMap, ArcGIS ArcScene, the Spatial Analyst IDW Interpolation Tool, and the Spatial Analyst Raster Calculator to develop complex 3D simulations. With the data compiled, the students created graphs and charts that compared groundwater level changes that took place for each ten year period.


Bodine and Perry now have research experience and valuable ArcGIS skills under their belts. And their hard work hasn’t gone unrecognized! After submitting their project as a poster presentation to three regional conferences (2011 Utah Planning Students’ Planning for Sustainability Conference, 2011 Utah Geographic Information Council Conference, and 2011 Spring Runoff Conference), their poster was selected for First Place in the student poster contest in the first two conferences.

In addition, Perry landed a job as an intern with the Bureau of Land Management this summer. One of his job responsibilities is to use ArcGIS to assist with several visual resource management projects.

See project poster (PDF)