Surface and Groundwater Interactions

Groundwater is the water found below ground in the cracks and spaces in soil, sand and rock. In Ramsey County, it is used for heating and cooling as well as manufacturing. Occasionally Saint Paul Regional Water Services also augments water from the Mississippi River with treated groundwater to meet drinking water demands.

Nearly all surface water resources in the District interact with and impact groundwater. Surface water collects particles and pollutants that can negatively affect groundwater quality, while groundwater depletion can degrade water quality in surface bodies.

Effective watershed management requires a clear understanding of the links between groundwater and surface water, as both types have a critical impact on water quality throughout the District.

Water Conservation

Since groundwater and surface water are connected, conservation efforts can have a huge impact on both resources. According to the National Groundwater Association, 38 percent of American households depend on groundwater for drinking water supplies. When too much groundwater is pumped out of an aquifer, surface water levels can decline and put water resources in jeopardy. At the same time, diverting surface water can also deplete groundwater.

Surface and Groundwater to Drinking Water

CRWD works to educate District residents about water conservation best practices, while continually monitoring its water resources. Both surface and groundwater support our drinking and general water needs. CRWD’s drinking water supply is largely surface water, while other counties, such as Washington County, rely solely on groundwater.

CRWD has created several projects that help preserve groundwater, support groundwater recharge and more. Specifically, rainwater is now being used in place of potable water to irrigate ballfields and green space at a number of recent projects, including CHS Field, Upper Villa Park, and the Snelling/Midway stadium site. Water conservation and viewing “rain as a resource” are common themes as CRWD develops projects to improve water quality throughout the District. In addition to creating water improvement projects, public education provides important context for residents to understand the importance of groundwater conservation.