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Agreements between United States governors and Canadian territorial premiers establish water-management principles and a framework for protecting Great Lakes waters, including ground water, from diversion and consumptive uses. The issue of ground-water diversions out of the Great Lakes Basin by large-scale pumping near the divides has been raised. Two scenario models, in which regional ground-water flow models represent major aquifers in the Great Lakes region, were used to assess the effect of pumping near ground-water divides. The regional carbonate aquifer model was a generalized model representing northwestern Ohio and northeastern Indiana; the regional sandstone aquifer model used an existing calibrated ground-water flow model for southeastern Wisconsin. Various well locations and pumping rates were examined. Although the two models have different frameworks and boundary conditions, results of the models were similar. There was significant diversion of ground water across ground-water divides due to pumping within 10 miles of the divides. In the regional carbonate aquifer model, the percentage of pumped water crossing the divide ranges from about 20 percent for a well 10 miles from the divide to about 50 percent for a well adjacent to the divide. In the regional sandstone aquifer model, the percentages range from about 30 percent for a well 10 miles from the divide to about 50 percent for a well adjacent to the divide; when pumping on the west side of the divide, within 5 mi of the predevelopment divide, results in at least 10 percent of the water being diverted from the east side of the divide. Two additional scenario models were done to examine the effects of pumping near rivers. Transient models were used to simulate a rapid stage rise in a river during pumping at a well in carbonate and glacial aquifers near the river. Results of water-budget analyses indicate that induced infiltration, captured streamflow, and underflow were important for both glacial and carbonate aquifers; however, in many cases, traveltimes from the river to the well will limit river water from physically entering the well.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Ground-water modeling of pumping effects near regional ground-water divides and river/aquifer systems - Results and implications of numerical experiments