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Open-File Report 2005-1269

Prepared in Cooperation with Oakland County, Michigan

Water Resources in a Rapidly Growing Region—Oakland County, Michigan

By Stephen S. Aichele

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Oakland County is a suburban county in southeast Michigan. Population and demand for water grew steadily in the county over the 20th century, and these trends are expected to continue in coming decades. Roughly 75 percent of current water demand is met by imported water from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Division (DWSD), but water use from ground-water sources within the county still exceeds 43 million gallons per day. Because much of the population growth is in areas beyond the DWSD system, an additional 20-25 million gallons per day of supply may be necessary to meet future demands. Managing the wastewater produced while also protecting human and ecosystem health also may present challenges.

Despite considerable expansion of urban areas, streamflow characteristics at most sites have not been affected. However, at several sites in areas of the county that are both supplied by ground water and sewered, statistically significant downward trends in low-flow stream discharges have been noted between 1970 and 2003. Stream chemistry, compared to a previous study of county water resources prepared in 1972, has generally improved, with marked decreases in concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfate. Chloride concentrations, however, have increased dramatically in river and lake water across the county. Detectable concentrations of personal-care products, flame retardants, and petroleum fuel compounds were identified at all river sites sampled.

For further information, contact:
Jim Nicholas, Director
U.S. Geological Survey
Michigan Water Science Center
6520 Mercantile Way, Suite 5
Lansing, MI 48911-5991
visit our Web site at:

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Suggested citation:

Aichele, Stephen S., 2005, Water Resources in a Rapidly Growing Region—Oakland County, Michigan: Date Posted: MONTH DD, 2005, U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 2005-1269 34 p. []




Oakland County — Population and Land


Physiography and geomorphology


Land cover

The Hydrologic Cycle

Water Budgets for Selected Basins

How Humans Can Alter the Hydrologic Cycle

Water and the Land

Water in the Ground—The Ground-Water Resources of Oakland County

The Glacial Aquifer in Oakland County

Bedrock Aquifers in Oakland County

Ground-Water Quality

Surface Water



Surface-Water Quality

River-Water Quality

Lake-Water Quality


Water for the 21st Century – Meeting the Need


References Cited

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