Quantifying the spatial and temporal distribution of natural groundwater recharge is usually a prerequisite for effective groundwater modeling and management. As flow models become increasingly utilized for management decisions, there is an increased need for simple, practical methods to delineate recharge zones and quantify recharge rates. Existing models for estimating recharge distributions are data intensive, require extensive parameterization, and take a significant investment of time in order to establish. The Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey (WGNHS) has developed a simple daily soil-water balance (SWB) model that uses readily available soil, land cover, topographic, and climatic data in conjunction with a geographic information system (GIS) to estimate the temporal and spatial distribution of groundwater recharge at the watershed scale for temperate humid areas. To demonstrate the methodology and the applicability and performance of the model, two case studies are presented: one for the forested Trout Lake watershed of north central Wisconsin, USA and the other for the urban-agricultural Pheasant Branch Creek watershed of south central Wisconsin, USA. Overall, the SWB model performs well and presents modelers and planners with a practical tool for providing recharge estimates for modeling and water resource planning purposes in humid areas. ?? Springer-Verlag 2007.