Simulation of the ground-water-flow system in the Kalamazoo County area, Michigan

Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5054
Prepared in cooperation with the city of Kalamazoo, city of Portage, Kalamazoo County Human Services Department, and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
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A ground-water-flow model was developed to investigate the ground-water resources of Kalamazoo County. Ground water is widely used as a source of water for drinking and industry in Kalamazoo County and the surrounding area. Additionally, lakes and streams are valued for their recreational and aesthetic uses. Stresses on the ground-water system, both natural and human-induced, have raised concerns about the long-term availability of ground water for people to use and for replenishment of lakes and streams. Potential changes in these stresses, including withdrawals and recharge, were simulated using a ground-water-flow model.

Simulations included steady-state conditions (in which stresses remained constant and changes in storage were not included) and transient conditions (in which stresses changed in seasonal and monthly time scales and storage within the system was included). Steady-state simulations were used to investigate the long-term effects on water levels and streamflow of a reduction in recharge or an increase in pumping to projected 2010 withdrawal rates, withdrawal and application of water for irrigation, and a reduction in recharge in urban areas caused by impervious surfaces. Transient simulations were used to investigate changes in withdrawals to match seasonal and monthly patterns under various recharge conditions, and the potential effects of the use of water for irrigation over the summer months.

With a reduction in recharge, simulated water levels declined over most of the model area in Kalamazoo County; with an increase in pumping, water levels declined primarily near pumping centers. Because withdrawals by wells intercept water that would have discharged possibly to a stream or lake, model simulations indicated that streamflow was reduced with increased withdrawals. With withdrawal and consumption of water for irrigation, simulated water levels declined. Assuming a reduction in recharge due to urbanization, water levels declined and flow to streams was reduced based on steady-state simulation results. Transient results indicated a reduction of water levels with the simulated use of water for irrigation over the summer months. Generally the transient simulation with recharge only in the winter provided the best fit to observed water levels collected during synoptic water-level measurements in some wells and to the trends observed in water levels for other wells.

Analysis of the regional hydrologic budgets provides an increased understanding of water movement within the ground-water-flow system in Kalamazoo County. Budgets for the steady-state simulations indicated that with reduced recharge, less water was available for streamflow and less water left the model area through the model boundaries. Similarly, with an increase in pumping rates, less water was available to enter streams and become streamflow. When recharge was assumed to remain constant and when it was allowed to vary throughout the year, the amount of water that entered storage was greater than that which left storage. However, when recharge was distributed through October?May only or when recharge rates were reduced from October to May, the amount of water that entered storage was less than that which left storage. Thus, on the basis of model simulations, with reduced recharge or increased withdrawals, water must come from storage, rivers, or from ground-flow-system boundaries to meet withdrawal demands.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Simulation of the ground-water-flow system in the Kalamazoo County area, Michigan
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2004-5054
DOI 10.3133/sir20045054
Year Published 2004
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Michigan Water Science Center
Description vii, 65 p.
Country United States
State Michigan
County Kalamazoo County
Scale 100000
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