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.
We are continuously installing and growing our observation well 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 data are available online. In specific circumstances, they may also be made available in printed or electronic form.