Water resources of the Detroit area, Michigan

Circular 183
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The water used for all purposes in the Detroit area is obtained from three sources: Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River, their tributary streams and inland lakes, and ground water. During 1950 Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River provided 2,896 million gallons per day (mgd), or 98.3 percent of the total usage of 2,949 mgd. Tributary streams and inland lakes supplied about 10 mgd, or 0.3 percent, and ground water contributed43 mgd, or 1.4 percent of the total. These rates of use represent the following percentages of the total supply available from each source: From Lake St. Clair and Detroit River, 2.5 percent; from tributary streams, 1.2 percent; from ground water, probably about 15 percent.

Of the above total usage, about 2,500 mgd was raw water that was drawn directly from the Detroit River by adjacent industrial plants, used for cooling, processing, and other similar purposes, and immediately returned to the river. Of the remaining 449 mgd, 383 mgd was drawn from Lake St. Clair by the Detroit Department of Water Supply and, after purification, was distributed for domestic and commercial use throughout Detroit and its environs; 23 mgd was obtained from additional surface stream supplies; and 43 mgd was derived from wells.

An abundant supply of raw water may be obtained from the Detroit River. The practicability of its utilization at any particular site is beyond the scope of this report.

The Detroit Department of Water Supply can supply potable water of good quality and in any reasonable quantity anywhere in the area which it serves. Throughout the remainder of the Detroit area the Detroit Department of Water Supply can supply any normal demand, if distribution and storage facilities are provided. In outlying areas where the main source of supply is ground water and tributary streams, the water is hard and contains greater amounts of dissolved solids.

There will be no serious shortage of water supplies at their source in the foreseeable future although local shortages owing to lack of adequate distribution systems will occur.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Water resources of the Detroit area, Michigan
Series title Circular
Series number 183
DOI 10.3133/cir183
Year Published 1952
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Michigan Water Science Center
Description Document: iv, 36 p.; 4 Plates: 20.21 x 18.01 inches or smaller
Country United States
State Michigan
City Detroit
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