Appraisal of ground water for irrigation in the Little Falls area, Morrison County, Minnesota

Water Supply Paper 2009-D
Prepared in cooperation with the Morrison County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Waters, Soils, and Minerals



Anticipated irrigation on sandy soils has prompted evaluation of ground-water supply potential in the Little Falls area. Geologic conditions cause ground-water availability to vary widely in the area. The largest and most readily available groundwater source is the glacial outwash sand and gravel from which the soils were derived.

Test augering shows that the saturated surficial outwash is as much as 50-100 feet thick in the area where the outwash fills a probable former meltwater channel and that it is also this thick in smaller areas elsewhere. Transmissivity of the thicker parts of the aquifer approaches or exceeds 100,000 gallons per day per foot, and probable well yields should exceed 1,000 gallons per minute. In about two-thirds of the study area, a saturated thickness of less than 40 feet generally limits well yields to less than 300 gallons per minute.

Recharge to the surficial aquifer is obtained primarily from precipitation. Most discharge occurs as evapotranspiration, base flow to the Mississippi River, and base flow to other streams and to lakes.

Possible future response to pumping was studied through electric analog analyses by stressing the modeled aquifer system in accordance with areal variations in expected well yields. The model interpretation indicates most of the sustained pumpage would be obtained from intercepted base flow and evapotranspiration. Simulated withdrawals totaling 18,000 acre-feet of water per year for 10 years resulted in little adverse effect on the aquifer system. Simulated larger withdrawals, assumed to represent denser well spacing, caused greater depletion of aquifer storage, streamflow, and lake volumes, excessively so in some areas. Results of model analyses provide a guide for ground-water development by identifying the capability of all parts of the aquifer system to support sustained pumping for irrigation.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Appraisal of ground water for irrigation in the Little Falls area, Morrison County, Minnesota
Series title Water Supply Paper
Series number 2009
Chapter D
DOI 10.3133/wsp2009D
Year Published 1973
Language English
Publisher U.S. Government Printing Office
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Minnesota Water Science Center
Description Document: iv, 40 p.; Plate: 43 x 20 inches
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Morrison County
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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