In the Louisville area, the principal water-bearing formations are the glacial-outwash sand and gravel and, in places, the underlying limestone. During the period 1949 through 1955 pumpage from the two aquifers averaged about 30 mgd (million gallons per day). The pumpage was approximately in balance with the normal net recharge to the area but was only about 8 percent of the estimated potential supply of ground water, including induced infiltration from the river. In the Louisville area, ground water is used chiefly for air conditioning and for industrial cooling. In the part of the area southwest of the city, ground water is used also for public supply.
High ground-water levels in 1937 resulted from the greatest flood of record. Subsequently, water levels generally declined in the entire Louisville area. In downtown Louisville, where ground water is used for air conditioning, the water level fluctuates seasonally in response to variations in the rate of pumping. In the heavily pumped industrial areas, where ground water is used for cooling, water-level fluctuations correlate with changes in rates of pumping caused by variations in production schedules. Levels were lowest during the years of World War II. During the period 1952-55, relatively low levels throughout the area reflected the effects of less than normal rainfall, summer drought, and sustained pumping.
Ground water in the Louisville area is very hard and generally of the calcium bicarbonate or calcium sulfate type. It is high in iron and sulfate content but is moderately low in chloride content. In water of the sand and gravel aquifer, the concentration of sulfate has increased gradually during the period 1949-54.