A Riff on Rain That Got Away From Me

Fall                                                                    Harvest Moon

Rain.  Creates a hole up in the burrow and sleep, slowdown sort of feeling.  We went out for a small lunch, took a nap.  Business meeting in the morning, partly dividing up money from the recent stock surge.

The soil here in the Great Anoka Sand Plain (a former river bank for the Mississippi as it detoured around the Grantsburg Lobe of the Wisconsin Glaciation) allows rain water a clear path to aquifers beneath it, including one from which we get our water.  Not great for gardening unless there happened to be a peat bog atop the sand like the Fields Truck Farm that surrounds our development.

So, there’s a trade off.  Good water resources for tillable soil.  The small crop vegetable grower and orchadist, however, can amend the soil with organic matter and top soil. We’ve done that.

The aquifer from which we get our water, the Franconian Ironton-Galesville, (see pic) underlies much of eastern Minnesota, much of Wisconsin, some of Michigan, Illinois and Indiana is hydrologically connected to Lake Superior as you can see by the map on the right.

In case you think the olden days have no impact now, you might consider aquifers.  The Franconian Ironton-Galesville aquifer came into existence during the middle Cambrian period of the Paleozoic Era, beginning some 540 million years ago and continuing to about 485 million years ago.  The water in this aquifer circulates around and among the area under all these states, providing the water from municipal wells throughout the region get the bulk of their water.

Here’s another matter to consider.  Water cycles up and down, into the earth then up to the sky and back to the earth, sometimes ending up in aquifers and sometimes in lakes and oceans and rivers and streams and ponds and lakes.  This material from the Coon Creek Watershed District interests me.

“The ultimate source feeding groundwater is precipitation. Actual
aquifer recharge rates are not well quantified within the watershed
which leads to uncertainty in assessing sustainable withdraws.
Over appropriation is the result of removing water at a rate and or
volume faster than the aquifer can supply. In cases where a water
source takes 100 of years to recharge, appropriations are an
irreversible withdrawal.”
An important thing to note here is that in cases of drought, as now, there is no recharge possible.  That means that any climate change induced reductions in rain fall directly impact our long term capacity to draw our water needs from these ancient sources of water supply.


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