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Estimation of groundwater use for a groundwater-flow model of the Lake Michigan Basin and adjacent areas, 1864-2005

October 22, 2010

The U.S. Geological Survey, at the request of Congress, is assessing the availability and use of the Nation's water resources to help characterize how much water is available now, how water availability is changing, and how much water can be expected to be available in the future. The Great Lakes Basin Pilot project of the U.S. Geological Survey national assessment of water availability and use focused on the Great Lakes Basin and included detailed studies of the processes governing water availability in the Great Lakes Basin. One of these studies included the development of a groundwater-flow model of the Lake Michigan Basin. This report describes the compilation and estimation of the groundwater withdrawals in those areas in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois that were needed for the Lake Michigan Basin study groundwater-flow model. These data were aggregated for 12 model time intervals spanning 1864 to 2005 and were summarized by model area, model subregion, category of water use, aquifer system, aquifer type, and hydrogeologic unit model layer.

The types and availability of information on groundwater withdrawals vary considerably among states because water-use programs often differ in the types of data collected and in the methods and frequency of data collection. As a consequence, the methods used to estimate and verify the data also vary. Additionally, because of the different sources of data and different terminologies applied for the purposes of this report, the water-use data published in this report may differ from water-use data presented in other reports. These data represent only a partial estimate of groundwater use in each state because estimates were compiled only for areas in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois within the Lake Michigan Basin model area. Groundwater-withdrawal data were compiled for both nearfield and farfield model areas in Wisconsin and Illinois, whereas these data were compiled primarily for the nearfield model area in Michigan and Indiana.

Overall water use for the selected areas in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois was less during early time intervals than during more recent intervals, with large increases beginning around the 1960s. Total estimated groundwater withdrawals for model input range from 18.01 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) for interval 1 (1864-1900) to 1,280.25 Mgal/d for interval 12 (2001-5). Withdrawals for the public-supply category make up the majority of the withdrawals in each of the four states. In Wisconsin and Michigan, the second largest withdrawals are for the irrigation category; in Indiana and Illinois, industrial withdrawals account for the second largest withdrawal amounts. The smallest withdrawals are for miscellaneous uses in Wisconsin and irrigation uses in Indiana and Illinois.

Estimated groundwater withdrawals in the Southern Lower Peninsula of Michigan, Northeastern Illinois, and the farfield model area are generally larger than in the other model subregions. Withdrawals in Michigan and Indiana are predominantly from the Quaternary aquifer system, whereas withdrawals in Illinois are predominantly from the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer systems. Withdrawals in Wisconsin are about equal from the Quaternary and Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer systems. Estimated groundwater withdrawals in Michigan and Indiana are predominantly from the unconfined unconsolidated aquifer type. Withdrawals in Illinois are largely from the deep confined bedrock aquifer type, although they decreased considerably in more recent time intervals. Wisconsin withdrawals are about equal from unconfined unconsolidated and deep confined bedrock aquifer types.

Groundwater-withdrawal estimates in Wisconsin were compiled for the 47 easternmost counties within the boundary of the Lake Michigan Basin model, of which 32 counties, though not entirely contained, are at least partly within the Lake Michigan Basin. Overall, 6,457 withdrawal locations were estima

Publication Year 2010
Title Estimation of groundwater use for a groundwater-flow model of the Lake Michigan Basin and adjacent areas, 1864-2005
DOI 10.3133/sir20105068
Authors Cheryl A. Buchwald, Carol L. Luukkonen, Cynthia M. Rachol
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2010-5068
Index ID sir20105068
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Water Availability and Use Great Lakes Pilot