Water resources of the Zumbro River watershed, southeastern Minnesota

Hydrologic Atlas 543
Prepared in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Waters, Soils, and Minerals
By: , and 



The Zumbro River drains 1,428 square miles and falls from about 1,300 feet altitude in its headwaters to 665 feet at its mouth. The remaining 248 square miles included in the watershed is drained by small creeks flowing directly into the Mississippi River. Distribution of water use is about as follows: domestic, 50 percent; farm (for irrigation and livestock), 18 percent; and industrial, 32 percent. Total usage, in water-budget terms, is 0.24 inch over the entire watershed, or less than 1 percent of inflow (average annual precipitation). Total quantity of water, thus, is of lesser concern than local availability and quality of water. The dominant ions (calcium, magnesium, and bicarbonate) and dissolved solids are reduced by dilution during periods of high water discharge in the Zumbro River at Zumbro Falls. Similarly, in the South Fork Zumbro River near Rochester, dominant ions, dissolved solids, and those ions that are increased by waste disposal (sodium, chloride, and nitrates) are all reduced by dilution at high water discharge. For the Zumbro River the smallest monthly range and the most uniform daily mean discharge usually occurs in January, whereas the greatest range usually occurs in March. The lowest flows usually occur in the winter and the highest during the spring ice breakup. The lowest observed flow, 47 cfs, occurred on February 18, 1961 and the highest, 23,600 cfs, occurred on March 29, 1962. Seventeen of 22 municipalities obtain at least part of their water supply from the Prairie du Chien-Jordan aquifer. Although only one town uses the Galena aquifer, a large number of private domestic wells are completed in it in the western part of the watershed. (Woodard-USGS)

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Water resources of the Zumbro River watershed, southeastern Minnesota
Series title Hydrologic Atlas
Series number 543
DOI 10.3133/ha543
Year Published 1975
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Mounds View, MN
Contributing office(s) Minnesota Water Science Center
Description 3 Plates: 41.50 x 34.00 inches
Country United States
State Minnesota
Other Geospatial Zumbro River watershed
Scale 250000
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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