Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world

U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2013–3001

Understanding and Managing the Effects of Groundwater Pumping on Streamflow

By Stanley A. Leake and Paul M. Barlow

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (2.8 MB)Summary

Groundwater is a critical resource in the United States because it provides drinking water, irrigates crops, supports industry, and is a source of water for rivers, streams, lakes, and springs. Wells that pump water out of aquifers can reduce the amount of groundwater that flows into rivers and streams, which can have detrimental impacts on aquatic ecosystems and the availability of surface water. Estimation of rates, locations, and timing of streamflow depletion due to groundwater pumping is needed for water-resource managers and users throughout the United States, but the complexity of groundwater and surface-water systems and their interactions presents a major challenge. The understanding of streamflow depletion and evaluation of water-management practices have improved during recent years through the use of computer models that simulate aquifer conditions and the effects of pumping groundwater on streams.

First posted January 25, 2013

  • This report is also available in print from:

    USGS Information Services, Box 25286,
    Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225
    telephone: 888 ASK-USGS; e-mail:

For additional information contact:
Office information, Arizona Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
520 N. Park Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85719

This report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Leake, S.A., and Barlow, P.M., 2013, Understanding and managing the effects of groundwater pumping on streamflow: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2013–3001, 4 p. (Available at

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: GS Pubs Web Contact
Page Last Modified: Tuesday, 29-Nov-2016 17:47:36 EST