Although Iowa has abundant water supplies in general, recent demands for the state’s limited groundwater resources have intensified because of growing urban areas, ethanol production, large-scale livestock feeding operations, and industry. In some parts of Iowa, groundwater is being pumped out of the aquifer faster than it can recharge.
IGS hydrologists have decades of experience using predictive models for potential research related to drought resiliency, aquifer storage and recovery, water sustainability, and nitrate. IGS researchers have developed groundwater flow models for four of Iowa’s regional bedrock aquifers. These regional numerical models allow researchers to forecast the future impact of changes in water usage and infrastructure.
IGS researchers can help water users cope with the intensifying flood-to-drought cycle by enhancing groundwater storage. Water managers can achieve increases in groundwater recharge and storage through changes to infrastructure — often a combination of strategies, including recharge basins, wetland construction, and low-head dams on rivers and streams. Water captured behind these structures provides both surface water and groundwater storage.