Ground water in the Great Lakes Basin: the case of southeastern Wisconsin

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The recharge entering the ground-water system is not uniform across southeastern Wisconsin. A study at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee calculated the pattern of recharge rates for southeastern Wisconsin. These rates were used in the ground-water model. Recharge is generally less near Lake Michigan where clayey glacial till deposits are in the subsurface. It is higher in the Kettle Moraine area in western Waukesha County where deposits are sandier. The distribution of recharge affects the location of source areas for wells.

Model input: Recharge rates in inches/year (85 kb) Model input: Recharge rates in inches/year
(source: Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey Open-File Report 2004-01)

Land uses changes (for example, the spread of pavement) can change the recharge pattern. So can climate changes (for example, less freezing of soils due to global warming). These effects are very hard to quantify.

For more information on the recharge study, see Cherkauer, D.S., 2001, "Distribution of ground-water recharge in southeastern Wisconsin": Unpublished final report to Source Water Protection Program, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. 31 p.

Also see, Cherkauer, D.S., 2004, "Quantifying Ground Water Recharge at Multiple Scales Using PRMS and GIS": Ground Water, Vol. 42, No. 1.

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Page Last Modified: March 26, 2007