'Ground-water recharge' broadly describes the addition of water to the ground-water system. Most water recharging the ground-water system moves relatively rapidly to surface-water bodies and sustains streamflow, lake levels, and wetlands. Over the long term, recharge is generally balanced by discharge to surface waters, to plants, and to deeper parts of the ground-water system. However, this balance can be altered locally as a result of pumping, impervious surfaces, land use, or climate changes that could result in increased or decreased recharge.
* Recharge rates to unconfined aquifers in Minnesota typically are about 20-25 percent of precipitation.
* Ground-water recharge is least (0-2 inches per year) in the western and northwestern parts of the State and increases to greater than 6 inches per year in the central and eastern parts of the State.
* Water-level measurement frequency is important in estimating recharge. Measurements made less frequently than about once per week resulted in as much as a 48 percent underestimation of recharge compared with estimates based on an hourly measurement frequency.
* High-quality, long-term, continuous hydrologic and climatic data are important in estimating recharge rates.