Effects of the 1993 flood on water levels and water quality in the Sheyenne Delta Aquifer, southeastern North Dakota, 1993-94

Water-Resources Investigations Report 97-4163




A study was conducted to evaluate the effects of precipitation and flooding on water levels in the Sheyenne Delta aquifer and to evaluate the variations in water quality that are related to the precipitation and flooding. Water-level, streamflow, and water-quality data collected before July 1993 were assumed to be representative of pre-flood conditions, and data collected from July 1993 through May 1994 were used to evaluate the ground-water response.

Water levels in 49 wells were measured every 3 weeks, when possible, between November 1993 and May 1994. Water samples were collected from 16 of the wells during November 1993 and March, April, and May 1994 and analyzed for major ions, nutrients, selected trace elements, and pesticides. The water-level and water-quality data collected during the study, along with similar data collected during previous investigations and during the National Water-Quality Assessment study, provided the basis for describing the general characteristics of the hydrology and water quality of the Sheyenne Delta aquifer.

Generally, precipitation and flooding affect water levels in the aquifer. The largest water-level rise occurs in low-relief areas, and water subsequently moves down-gradient toward the river. Topography strongly affects the focus of recharge in the aquifer. During high stage in the river, ground-water flow gradients near the river can reverse, and water flows from the river into the aquifer. Water in the Sheyenne Delta aquifer before and after the 1993 flood generally was a calcium bicarbonate type. Little variation exists between pre-flood and post-flood water-quality conditions in the aquifer. Water quality in the aquifer is affected mainly by precipitation, evapotranspiration, inflow from adjacent ground water, and inflow from the Sheyenne River.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Effects of the 1993 flood on water levels and water quality in the Sheyenne Delta Aquifer, southeastern North Dakota, 1993-94
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s):
North Dakota Water Science Center, Dakota Water Science Center
iv, 43 p.