Groundwater Level Monitoring Program
Collect baseline data on groundwater level fluctuations and trends.
Since 1944, DNR has managed a statewide network of water level observation wells (obwells). Data from these wells are used to assess groundwater resources, determine long term trends, interpret impacts of pumping and climate, plan for water conservation, evaluate water conflicts, and otherwise manage the water resource. Soil and Water Conservation Districts under contract with DNR measure the wells monthly and report the readings to DNR. Readings are also obtained from volunteers at several locations.
Currently, about 750 obwells are being monitored in the obwell network. Obwells are selected to address existing and future water supply needs and, as such, the network is continually evaluated for compatibility with the program's purpose. A statewide assessment of each obwell is underway.
In addition to data collection, network maintenance, and administration, the Groundwater Level Monitoring Program is actively involved in DNR research and groundwater study efforts as well as groundwater appropriation issues. For these purposes, obwell data is often available and new obwells are drilled where necessary to provide needed water level information. Also, new and historical water level readings are analyzed for impacts of specific events and for trends in aquifer response to human activities. The results of these analyses are the basis of reports from the DNR.
Water level readings are available via the DNR web page. In specific circumstances, they may also be made available in printed or electronic form.
- South-Central Minnesota Groundwater Monitoring of the Mt. Simon Aquifer , reposted December 2012
- Minnesota Groundwater Level Monitoring Network - Guidance Document for Network Development , October 2011 (2.2 Mb)
- Plan to Develop a Groundwater Level Monitoring Network for the 11-County Metropolitan Area , October 2009 (4.5 Mb)