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Look up
data about the quality of groundwater near homes or businesses or get an estimate of groundwater availability.
Protect
the quality and quantity of groundwater for your family, business customers and community.
Learn
where your groundwater comes from and how it moves underground to reach your drinking water well and the lakes and streams you enjoy.

GCC Report to the Legislature Groundwater quantity

Groundwater is abundant in Wisconsin and available in sufficient amounts throughout most of Wisconsin to provide adequate water supplies for most municipal, industrial, agricultural and domestic uses. However, groundwater pumping can lower water levels in aquifers and connected lakes, wetlands and streams. Areas with extensive groundwater pumping can result in significant lowering of aquifer water levels and drying of streams, lakes and wetlands.

Issues and problems

Water use

photo of water use map viewer

Water Withdrawal and High Capacity Well Viewer.

2015 water use reporting showed that the largest category of groundwater withdrawals was municipal public water supplies, and the second largest category of groundwater withdrawal was agricultural irrigation.

» Read more.


Surface water impacts

photo of dried up Little Plover River

The Little Plover River has dried in parts during various
years since 2005. Photo credit: UW-SP

Groundwater pumping has substantial impacts on streamflows and water levels in lakes and wetlands in parts of Wisconsin.

» Read more.


Regional drawdowns

photo of

Several areas of Wisconsin have seen regional drawdowns of the groundwater due to extensive pumping – these drawdowns can affect water availability and water quality.

» Read more.


Impact of reduced quantity on groundwater quality

photo of Waukesha

The Great Lake states approved the City of Waukesha’s
application for a diversion of Lake Michigan water.

Overuse of groundwater resources can result in water quality problems.

» Read more.


Land use and high groundwater conflicts

photo of Flooding in Spring Green

In Spring Green, 4,378 acres outside of areas currently
designated as floodplain by FEMA flooded for over five
months in 2008. Photo credit: USGS.

Too much groundwater can also be a problem.

» Read more.


Potential management solutions

Statewide groundwater level network

photo of Statewide Groundwater level Network

Wisconsin’s groundwater-level monitoring network has
been operated jointly by WGNHS and USGS since 1946.

Water levels collected from the network help scientists and managers evaluate effects of well pumping, the response of groundwater levels to drought or increased precipitation and effects of land-use change on groundwater resources.

» Read more.


Wisconsin stream model

photo of streamflow monitoring

Streamflow monitoring.

DNR researchers have developed a detailed model that predicts streamflows in ungaged streams using identify factors (such as land use, groundwater recharge and climatic elements).

» Read more.


Aquifer storage and recovery

photo of Statewide Groundwater level Network

Diagram of storage and recovery phases of ASR operation,
with water stored in a confined aquifer.

Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) is a water management technique that uses an injection well to temporarily place surface water or treated drinking water directly into an aquifer for storage. To date, while two Wisconsin communities have explored ASR, it has not proved to be a viable option for either community.

» Read more.


Water use data

DNR has developed an interactive web map viewer for water use throughout Wisconsin. The map viewer allows the public to access information about approved surface and ground water withdrawals, existing and pending high capacity wells and locations of groundwater protection features. DNR has also developed a water use search tool that allows users to find individual or aggregate water withdrawals from high capacity wells and surface water withdrawals.

Last revised: Wednesday August 30 2017