Evaluating impacts of subdivision density on shallow groundwater in Southeastern Wisconsin, USA

Journal of Environmental Planning and Management
By:  and 

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Abstract

Using simple numerical groundwater flow models, we tested the impacts of suburban developments on groundwater levels and discharge to streams. We used lot sizes of 1, 3 and 5 acres (4000, 12,000 and 20,000 m2) with one domestic well per lot that pumped water from shallow aquifers. Our modelling showed that pumping had little impact on water levels and groundwater discharge to streams if the developed area is of a moderate size. However, domestic wells had the potential to impact local groundwater levels and baseflows in large developments. In township-wide development scenarios of 1-acre (4000 m2) lots, simulated drawdowns beneath developed areas ranged from 1 to 18 ft (0.3 to 5.5 m), and baseflow reductions ranged from 20 to 40%. Impacts generally were inversely proportional to lot size, recharge rate and hydraulic conductivity of the aquifer materials. Developments using individual domestic wells have the potential to impact local groundwater levels and surface water features. The impacts can range from negligible to severe, depending on local hydrogeologic conditions and on whether wastewater is recharged onsite or is removed from the basin. An assessment of groundwater impacts should be a part of the planning process for all suburban developments. ?? 2011 University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Evaluating impacts of subdivision density on shallow groundwater in Southeastern Wisconsin, USA
Series title Journal of Environmental Planning and Management
DOI 10.1080/09640568.2010.524358
Volume 54
Issue 5
Year Published 2011
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Environmental Planning and Management
First page 559
Last page 575