UW Extension

New Groundwater Flow Model in Dane County

The study of groundwater in Dane County is important at the University of Wisconsin-Extension’s Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey.

“100% of our drinking water in Dane County comes from groundwater,” says Mike Parsen, a hydrogeologist at the Survey.

In 2010 Parsen, fellow researcher Ken Bradbury, and collaborators at the USGS in Middleton, Wisconsin, began to update the Dane County groundwater flow model to better characterize the county’s groundwater system. The Capital Area Regional Planning Commission provided financial support.

The new model is more precise and more detailed than before, says Parsen. Not only does the model incorporate new data, but it also uses upgraded software programs. This all adds up to provide an improved picture of the connected groundwater and surface water system within Dane County.

“The role of the model is to help inform and answer questions that resource managers and engineers have across the county,” says Parsen. “It’s a tool that agencies in the region can use to run scenarios and evaluate potential impacts to their groundwater system if something changes – like siting new wells or shutting down old wells.”

The new model is now available to the public. Interested users are welcomed to contact the Survey at michael.parsen@wgnhs.uwex.edu with questions.

Learn more about the groundwater model


Parsen is a hyrdogeologist at the Survey.

Ken Bradbury

Ken Bradbury is a hydrogeologist and the new director at the Survey.