Steven J. Burian


Jordan River Watershed – Farmington Bay Water Budget Model: A Tool for Integrated Water Resources Management

The water balance of Farmington Bay has important ramifications for assessing impacts of management alternatives (e.g., rainwater harvesting, green infrastructure), infrastructure projects (e.g., water reuse), diversion and water development projects (e.g., aquifer storage and recovery), population growth, and climate change on flooding, water availability, the nutrient budget, water quality, and overall health of Farmington Bay and the interconnected Great Salt Lake ecosystem.

The goal of this project is to create a daily water balance model of Farmington Bay. The project synthesizes recent efforts that have (1) compiled available literature on the Farmington Bay water balance (CH2M Hill 2012), (2) estimated inflows to Farmington Bay from groundwater (Bishop et al. 2009), (3) modeled the water balance of adjacent duck club ponds (Dev 2008; DiCataldo 2008), (4) measured bi-directional flow at the bridge in the causeway, and more.

The research extends this previous work by creating a dynamic daily water budget model of Farmington Bay based on a collection of observations, hydrologic flux estimation approaches and models, new observations, and judgment. The system being modeled includes the Jordan River watershed, Jordan River water management, drainages to the east of Farmington Bay, and meteorologically mediated inputs and outputs directly to and from Farmington Bay. Simulations are being performed to quantify the water budget of Farmington Bay, to explore the seasonality and extreme conditions, and investigate impacts of stormwater management, water supply choices, and climate variability on levels in Farmington Bay. The work is guided by the long-term goal to include pollutant loading, extend to model the Great Salt Lake water budget, and to link with hydrodynamic and water quality models.

Dr. Steven J. Burian is an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Associate Director of the Global Change and Sustainability Center, and Co-Director of Sustainability Curriculum Development at the University of Utah. Steve received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters in Environmental Engineering and a Doctorate in Civil Engineering from The University of Alabama. Dr. Burian’s professional career spans more than 15 years during which he has worked in design engineering, as a Scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, as a Professor at the University of Arkansas and the University of Utah, and as a Director of an engineering and sustainability consulting firm he co-founded. He is a registered professional engineer in Utah and credentialed in the use of the EnvisionTM sustainable infrastructure rating system. Phone: (801) 585-5721 E-mail:
Farmington Bay by Connie Borup

Farmington Bay by Connie Borup