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Glacial Aquifer System Groundwater Availability Study

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Howard W. Reeves
Michigan Water Science Center
6520 Mercantile Way, Suite 5
Lansing, Michigan 48911


Water Census


Groundwater Resources Program Regional Groundwater Study


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Picture of a pump and plumbing configureation used by public water systems. About 105 million people—or more than one-third of the Nation's population—receive their drinking water from one of the 140,000 public water systems across the United States that rely on groundwater pumped from public wells. Photographer: Roland Tollett, USGS

The overall goal of this study is to assess groundwater availability in the glacial aquifer system. The primary objectives are to quantify current groundwater resources, evaluate how these resources have changed over time, and provide the tools needed to forecast system response to future anthropogenic and environmental stresses. Key features of this study include:

  • Analysis of regional, subregional , and local water budgets;
  • Documentation of trends in  recharge, groundwater storage, and discharge to streams or other surface-water bodies as impacted by human and environmental  conditions;
  • Forecasts of system response to changes in external stress or climate.

The assessment of groundwater availability for the glacial aquifer system requires consideration of the response of the entire hydrologic system to changes in imposed stresses or environmental conditions. Achieving these objectives will include 1) synthesizing in a regional context, the hydrologic information obtained from previous studies; 2) quantifying the groundwater resources from predevelopment to current conditions; and 3) developing modeling tools that can be used to assess groundwater availability in the glacial aquifer system to help extrapolate information to areas not specifically studied.

Additionally, the regional analysis will provide temporal information about the inflows, outflows, and changes in storage system-wide and in selected subregions of the aquifer system. Results of this analysis will be used to the extent possible to forecast the hydrologic responses of the aquifer system to future changes in anthropogenic and natural stresses.

Finally, the study will provide analysis for characterizing limitations on groundwater availability in regions within glacial aquifer system arising from climatic setting, hydrogeologic conditions, water quality issues, constraints imposed by the desire to maintain environmental flows, or other features of the system.