Groundwater-flow model and effects of projected groundwater use in the Ozark Plateaus Aquifer System in the vicinity of Greene County, Missouri - 1907-2030

Scientific Investigations Report 2010-5227




Recent and historical periods of rapid growth have increased the stress on the groundwater resources in the Ozark aquifer in the Greene County, Missouri area. Historical pumpage from the Ozark aquifer has caused a cone of depression beneath Springfield, Missouri. In an effort to ease its dependence on groundwater for supply, the city of Springfield built a pipeline in 1996 to bring water from Stockton Lake to the city. Rapid population growth in the area coupled with the expanding cone of depression raised concern about the sustainability of groundwater as a resource for future use. A groundwater-flow model was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with Greene County, Missouri, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to assess the effect that increased groundwater demand is having on the long-term availability of groundwater in and around Greene County, Missouri. Three hydrogeologic units were represented in the groundwater-flow model: the Springfield Plateau aquifer, the Ozark confining unit, and the Ozark aquifer. The Springfield Plateau aquifer is less than 350 feet thick in the model area and generally is a low yield aquifer suitable only for domestic use. The Ozark aquifer is composed of a more than 900-foot thick sequence of dolomite and sandstone in the model area and is the primary aquifer throughout most of southern Missouri. Wells open to the entire thickness of the Ozark aquifer typically yield 1,000 gallons per minute or more. Between the two aquifers is the Ozark confining unit composed of as much as 98 feet of shale and limestone. Karst features such as sinkholes, springs, caves, and losing streams are present in both aquifers, but the majority of these features occur in the Springfield Plateau aquifer. The solution-enlarged fracture and bedding plane conduits in the karst system, particularly in the Springfield Plateau aquifer, are capable of moving large quantities of groundwater through the aquifer in relatively short periods of time. Pumpage rates in the model area increased from 1,093,268 cubic feet per day in 1962 to 2,693,423 cubic feet per day in 1987 to 4,330,177 cubic feet per day in 2006. Annual precipitation ranged from 25.21 inches in 1953 to 62.45 inches in 1927 from 1915 to 2006 in the model area. Recharge to the model was calculated as 2.53 percent of the annual precipitation and was varied annually. Recharge was distributed over the model area based on land slope and was adjusted in the city limits of Springfield to account for the impervious surface. A groundwater model with annual stress periods from 1907 to 2030 was developed using a transient calibration period from 1987 to 2006 and a prediction period from 2007 to 2030 to simulate flow in the Springfield Plateau aquifer and the Ozark aquifer. For the model area of approximately 2,870 square miles, the model hydrogeologic units and hydraulic properties were discretized into 253 rows, 316 columns, and 3 layers with the layer boundaries crossing hydrogeologic unit boundaries in some areas. The horizontal cell spacing was 1,000 feet by 1,000 feet. The model was calibrated by minimizing the difference between simulated head and observed water levels and simulated and observed flows in rivers and springs. Population and the associated groundwater use were estimated for 12 communities and the unincorporated area of Greene County based on past growth. Each was analyzed individually, and a low and high annual rate of growth relative to the 2006 population was computed for each community or group. Low growth rates ranged from 0.215 percent per year in Springfield to 6.997 percent per year in Rogersville. Total growth from 2006 to 2030 at the low growth rate ranged from 5.2 percent in Springfield to 167.9 percent in Rogersville. High growth rates ranged from 0.236 percent per year in Springfield to 7.345 percent per year in Rogersville. Total growth from 2006 to 2030 at the high g

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Groundwater-flow model and effects of projected groundwater use in the Ozark Plateaus Aquifer System in the vicinity of Greene County, Missouri - 1907-2030
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Scientific Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s):
Missouri Water Science Center
x, 106 p.
Universal Transverse Mercator projection, zone 19
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