The U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, is studying six alternatives for delivering water to the Red River of the North Valley in North Dakota and to the cities of Breckenridge, Moorhead, and East Grand Forks, Minnesota. In order to evaluate these alternatives the Bureau of Reclamation needs estimates of ground-water use for 2030 and 2050 for six counties in Minnesota: Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, and Wilkin Counties. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation, conducted a study to estimate ground-water use in these counties for 2030 and 2050.
This report (1) describes the methods used to estimate ground-water use for the years 2030 and 2050 for six Minnesota counties: Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, and Wilkin Counties, (2) presents the estimated domestic, commercial, industrial, and irrigation ground-water use for the years 2030 and 2050 for these six counties, and (3) compares the estimated ground-water use with published estimates of recharge to three surficial aquifers: Buffalo, Otter Tail surficial, and Pelican River sand plain.
Between 74 and 82 percent of the reported ground-water use in the 6 years from 2000 to 2005 was used for irrigation of major crops. The next major use of ground-water was public water supply for domestic use, between 13 and 19 percent of the reported ground-water use. Together they account for 90 to 95 percent of the appropriated ground water in the 6-year period.
The total estimated 2030 ground-water use for the six counties ranges from 27,826-36,177 million gallons per year (Mgal/yr), and the total estimated 2050 ground-water use ranges from 31,313-41,746 Mgal/yr.
The estimated recharge to the Buffalo aquifer, Otter Tail surficial aquifer, and Pelican River sand-plain aquifer is 3,707, 51,000, and 4,900-8,900 Mgal/yr, respectively. The range of the estimated 2050 ground-water withdrawals from the Buffalo, Otter Tail surficial, and Pelican River sand-plain aquifers is 1,234-1,776 Mgal/yr from the Buffalo aquifer, 11,728-14,820 Mgal/yr from the Otter Tail surficial aquifer, and 3,385-4,298 Mgal/yr from the Pelican River sand-plain aquifer.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Estimated Ground-Water Use in Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, and Wilkin Counties, Minnesota, for 2030 and 2050