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Construction of a groundwater-flow model for the Big Sioux Aquifer using airborne electromagnetic methods, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

September 28, 2016

The city of Sioux Falls is the fastest growing community in South Dakota. In response to this continued growth and planning for future development, Sioux Falls requires a sustainable supply of municipal water. Planning and managing sustainable groundwater supplies requires a thorough understanding of local groundwater resources. The Big Sioux aquifer consists of glacial outwash sands and gravels and is hydraulically connected to the Big Sioux River, which provided about 90 percent of the city’s source-water production in 2015. Managing sustainable groundwater supplies also requires an understanding of groundwater availability. An effective mechanism to inform water management decisions is the development and utilization of a groundwater-flow model. A groundwater-flow model provides a quantitative framework for synthesizing field information and conceptualizing hydrogeologic processes. These groundwater-flow models can support decision making processes by mapping and characterizing the aquifer. Accordingly, the city of Sioux Falls partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey to construct a groundwater-flow model. Model inputs will include data from advanced geophysical techniques, specifically airborne electromagnetic methods.