Groundwater

Wisconsin is blessed with an abundance of water resources that serve our drinking water needs. While one-third of the state draws drinking water from surface water sources (such as lakes Michigan and Winnebago), the other two-thirds rely on groundwater. Understanding groundwater and how to protect it is a complex and emerging issue, and one that requires collaborative approaches between local and statewide partners.

Communities rely on county leadership to improve and protect water resources. Here you can find key resources developed by WI Land+Water and statewide partners to help counties integrate groundwater into county planning.

Looking to figure out the approximate 5 year zone of contribution for a public well? Whether to include as a "critical area" in your 9 Key Element Plan or to help assess land use practices that might rehabilitate a well, visit the DNR's Surface Water Data Viewer.

  1. Launch the Viewer
  2. Zoom into area of interest
  3. Click on Show Layers and scroll down to check the box for Permits and Determinations
  4. Check the box for Source Water Protection Areas

Some municipal wells may have a modeled boundary, while other, smaller public wells have a standard circle boundary around the well.

If you're assessing small public wells or private wells, use a water table map that can be found at WGNHS to understand the direction groundwater is traveling.


Learn the different drinking water well types

Community or noncommunity? Public or private? Follow this flowchart to learn the definition and regulations for the different well types.

Learn more