Summary appraisals of the nation's ground-water resources – Great Lakes region

Professional Paper 813-J



The Great Lakes Regions, as a whole, has abundant supplies of water. Nearly 805,000 billion cubic feet of water is contained in the Great Lakes. An additional 35,000 billion cubic feet of potable ground water is available from storage in the region. Estimated ground-water discharge to the streams and lakes of the region is 26 billion gallons per day.

Despite this abundance of water, the United States part of the Great Lakes basin is faced with many water-related problems, most of which involve water quality and water supply. Other problems concern periods of low flow in streams, preservation of wetlands, detrimental effects of erosion, and flooding. The significance of ground water in these problems is often overlooked.

Ground water can be an alternative to surface water as a source of supply, or it can be used conjunctively with surface water to provide flexibility in water-supply management. Ground water supplied approximately 1,800 million gallons per day of the 39,900 million gallons. per day used in the Great Lakes Region in 1970. The ground-water contribution was only 4.5 percent of the water used. Thus, ground water represents a potential source of supply for much of the region. It also can be used, where conditions permit, to maintain lake levels and flow in streams, to dilute poor quality surface water, and to maintain or create wetlands and ponds.

In managing water resources, ground water and surface water should be considered parts of a single system. Management includes not only planning and controlling the development but also monitoring the effects of this development. Recent advances in ground-water hydrology have provided methods to resolve some of the development and management questions that formerly slowed the development of ground water.

All of the States in the Great Lakes Region have some regulations to control the development or protect the quality of the ground water. These regulations, however, are not as comprehensive as those governing surface water. Future legislation could be designed to encourage the development of ground water and, at the same time, to protect the resource.

Efficient development and management of ground-water resources requires a through knowledge of the system. Reports on ground water are available for about 80 percent of tbe Great Lakes Region. Most of these reports, however, are not sufficiently detailed to be useful in comprehensive planning. As ground-water development continues, quantitative groundwater studies, utilizing models as predictive tools, will enable this development to proceed in an efficient manner.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Summary appraisals of the nation's ground-water resources – Great Lakes region
Series title Professional Paper
Series number 813
Chapter J
DOI 10.3133/pp813J
Year Published 1978
Language English
Publisher U.S. Government Printing Office
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Pennsylvania Water Science Center
Description vi., 30 p.
Country United States
State Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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