Q: How important is the spring snowmelt to Minnesota’s groundwater supply?
A: Snowmelt and rainfall during the spring months are the sources of major replenishment for the entire hydrologic system in Minnesota, including groundwater. While a great deal of the spring runoff melts into lakes and rivers, some of it infiltrates the soil into two principal zones: saturated and unsaturated. The saturated zone is where aquifers are found. Water stored as groundwater flows into rivers and lakes through springs and seeps, helping to maintain their levels. Most of the summer precipitation is taken up by growing vegetation or evaporates. Groundwater pumped from aquifers supplies more than 75 percent of Minnesota's drinking water and nearly 90 percent of the water used for agricultural irrigation.
- Jay Frischman, P.G., groundwater technical analysis unit supervisor