The feasibility of making regional estimates of ground-water
resources has been demonstrated in Minnesota. Average annual
ground-water recharge rates were used as an indicator of groundwater
resources. Ground-water resources are defined here as the
amount of ground water that can be withdrawn from water-table
aquifers for a long period of time without irreversible depletion
of the ground-water reservoir. In contrast ground-water reserves
are a function of the areal extent, thickness and hydrogeologic
parameters of the aquifers and confining beds. Data from three
research approaches were used to estimate ground-water resources:
( 1) ground-water contribution to the streamflow; (2) 3D-day lowflow
characteristics of Minnesota streams; (3) ground-water
hydrographs. Comparison of results of the three methods shows that
values derived from ground-water hydrographs and data on groundwater
contribution to streams are relatively close. Values derived
from low-flow data, however, were consistently smaller. This
discrepancy is related to two factors: (1) the limited time for
which records of low-flow measurements were available; (2) the
severely limited accuracy of low-flow estimates. However, the use
of all three methods in conjunction does provide meaningful estimates
of ground-water resources; The study shows regional distribution
of ground-water resources in the 39 watersheds in Minnesota.
The general distribution of ground-water resources is due to three
major factors -- hydrogeologic environment, geomorphology and climate.
The general trend is a decrease in ground-water resources
from southeast to west and north in Minnesota.
RI-22 Regional Approach to Estimating the Ground-Water Resources of Minnesota.
Minnesota Geological Survey.
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