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Simulation and assessment of groundwater flow and groundwater and surface-water exchanges in lakes of the northeast Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, Minnesota, 2003 through 2013: Chapter B of Water levels and groundwater and surface-water exchanges in lakes of the northeast Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, Minnesota, 2002 through 2015

Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5139-B

Prepared in cooperation with the Metropolitan Council and Minnesota Department of Health
By:
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https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20165139B

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Abstract

Water levels during 2003 through 2013 were less than mean water levels for the period 1925–2013 for several lakes in the northeast Twin Cities Metropolitan Area in Minnesota. Previous periods of low lake-water levels generally were correlated with periods with less than mean precipitation. Increases in groundwater withdrawals and land-use changes have brought into question whether or not recent (2003–13) lake-water-level declines are solely caused by decreases in precipitation. A thorough understanding of groundwater and surface-water exchanges was needed to assess the effect of water-management decisions on lake-water levels. To address this need, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Metropolitan Council and the Minnesota Department of Health, developed and calibrated a three-dimensional, steady-state groundwater-flow model representing 2003–13 mean hydrologic conditions to assess groundwater and lake-water exchanges, and the effects of groundwater withdrawals and precipitation on water levels of 96 lakes in the northeast Twin Cities Metropolitan Area.

Lake-water budgets for the calibrated groundwater-flow model indicated that groundwater is flowing into lakes in the northeast Twin Cities Metropolitan Area and lakes are providing water to underlying aquifers. Lake-water outflow to the simulated groundwater system was a major outflow component for Big Marine Lake, Lake Elmo, Snail Lake, and White Bear Lake, accounting for 45 to 64 percent of the total outflows from the lakes. Evaporation and transpiration from the lake surface ranged from 19 to 52 percent of the total outflow from the four lakes. Groundwater withdrawals and precipitation were varied from the 2003‒13 mean values used in the calibrated model (30-percent changes in groundwater withdrawals and 5-percent changes in precipitation) for hypothetical scenarios to assess the effects of groundwater withdrawals and precipitation on water budgets and levels in Big Marine Lake, Snail Lake, and White Bear Lake. Simulated lake-water levels and budgets for Snail Lake and White Bear Lake were affected by 30-percent changes in groundwater withdrawals and 5-percent changes in precipitation in the area, whereas the water level in Big Marine Lake was mainly affected by 5-percent precipitation changes. The effects of groundwater withdrawals on the lake-water levels depend on the number of wells and amount of withdrawals from wells near the lakes. Although lake-water levels are sensitive to precipitation changes, increases in groundwater withdrawals during dry periods exacerbate lake-water level declines. The calibrated, groundwater-flow model is a tool that water-resources managers can use to address future water management issues in the northeast Twin Cities Metropolitan Area.

Suggested Citation

Jones, P.M., Roth, J.L., Trost, J.J., Christenson, C.A., Diekoff, A.L., and Erickson, M.L., 2017, Simulation and assessment of groundwater flow and groundwater and surface-water exchanges in lakes in the northeast Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, Minnesota, 2003 through 2013: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5139–B, 88 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20165139B.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods of Model Development
  • Simulation and Assessment of Groundwater Flow and Groundwater and Surface-Water Exchanges
  • Implications
  • Summary
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Simulation and assessment of groundwater flow and groundwater and surface-water exchanges in lakes of the northeast Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, Minnesota, 2003 through 2013: Chapter B of Water levels and groundwater and surface-water exchanges in lakes of the northeast Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, Minnesota, 2002 through 2015
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2016-5139
Chapter:
B
DOI:
10.3133/sir20165139B
Year Published:
2017
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Minnesota Water Science Center
Description:
Report: xi, 88 p.; Tables 3 and 8; Data Release
Larger Work Type:
Report
Larger Work Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title:
Water levels and groundwater and surface-water exchanges in lakes of the northeast Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, Minnesota, 2002 through 2015 (Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5139)
Country:
United States
State:
Minnesota
City:
Minneapolis, Saint Paul
Online Only (Y/N):
Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
Y