Treasure Valley Hydrologic Project

The Boise River


The Treasure Valley Hydrologic Project began when several local, State and federal agencies along with United Water Idaho participated to scope a project that would answer questions about how the ground- and surface-water resources of the quickly-urbanizing Treasure Valley were interrelated and how emerging problems could be addressed. The first phase of the project, funded by an appropriation from the Idaho State Legislature ($300,000), and United Water Idaho ($201,000) was underway by June 1996. Phases II and III were funded primarily through an Assistance Agreement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, totalling $ 1,605,000, with additional contributions of cash or in-kind services from the Idaho Department of Water Resources, United Water Idaho, the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The financial support of these organizations is gratefully acknowledged. Other major participants in the technical portion of the project included the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute, Boise State University and private consultants. The project was completed in February 2004.

From the beginning, the project was focused upon real-life problems and issues facing cities and counties in the region. Changing land-use patterns (due primarily to urbanization), increasing awareness of aquifer vulnerability to potential contamination, need for conjunctive management of ground and surface water resources, and the need to better understand the aquifers underlying the basin and the effects of ground-water development on them and hydraulically connected reaches of the Boise River, all drove the need for better understanding. The project was guided by policy and technical advisors. The Policy Advisory Committee, consisting of representatives from United Water Idaho, Inc. Ada and Canyon County governments, and elected officials from Ada and Canyon County communities, defined general water resource and planning questions to be answered through the project. The Technical Advisory Committee, consisting of Treasure Valley geological and hydrological experts from private industry, State, local, and federal government, and academia, provided technical guidance and review.

Project management and supervision was provided by the Idaho Department of Water Resources. The principal investigator/contractor was the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute.

Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of the Treasure Valley Hydrologic Project was to develop a better understanding of water resources in the Treasure Valley and to develop the technical framework for future water resource management.

The general objective was to evaluate how the Treasure Valley aquifer system responds to potential changes in regional hydraulic stresses. Specific objectives include the following:

  1. Developing a water budget of inflows and outflows to the Treasure Valley aquifer system;
  2. Improving the characterization the Treasure Valley hydrologic system;
  3. Developing a numerical model to simulate ground water flow in the regional hydrologic system;
  4. Using the numerical model to simulate potential impacts to Treasure Valley ground water levels from changes to regional pumpage and/or recharge patterns; and
  5. Conveying project results to those making land and water resource planning decisions, and to the general public.

*This website is being developed as part of the Treasure Valley Hydrologic Project.
Funding has been provided in part by The State of Idaho and United Water Idaho with Assistance Agreement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.