A cooperative study was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Metropolitan Council, and the Minnesota Department of Health to assess groundwater and surface-water interactions in lakes in the northeast Twin Cities Metropolitan Area (TCMA), including White Bear Lake. An important product of the study was the creation of a groundwater-flow model focused on the northeast TCMA. The groundwater flow model is available for future use to assess the effects of groundwater withdrawals on lake levels as well as to describe other groundwater and surface-water interactions.
The groundwater contained in confined glacial aquifers provides clean drinking water to many Minnesota residents. An important factor affecting the long-term sustainability of these aquifers is how water infiltrates through clayey deposits of overlying glacial till, which act as barriers to contaminants but also limit water flow and aquifer recharge. Very little is actually known about the properties and infiltration of water through till, which hinders the ability to accurately define the sustainability of these aquifers.
Effective groundwater management requires accurate knowledge about the water budget, which is the amount of water stored within the system in aquifers and the amount of water flowing through the overall hydrologic system including water flowing at the surface, water flowing from above ground down into aquifers, and water flowing between aquifers below the surface.