Historical and estimated ground water levels near Winnipeg, Canada, and their sensitivity to climatic variability

Grant Ferguson, Scott St. George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Long term well hydrographs and estimated ground water levels derived from hydroclimatic and biological data were used to evaluate trends within the Upper Carbonate Aquifer (UCA) near Winnipeg, Canada, during the 20th Century. Ground water records from instruments have been kept since the early 1960s and are derived from piezometers in the overlying sediments and in open boreholes in the UCA. Some boreholes extend into an underlying Paleozoic carbonate sequence. Shallow well hydrographs show no obvious long term trends but do exhibit variations on the order of three to four years that are correlated with changes in annual temperature and precipitation at lags up to 24 months. Trends observed in deeper wells appear to be largely related to ground water usage patterns and show little correlation with climate over the past 35 years. Stepwise multiple regression modeled average annual hydraulic head in the shallow wells as a function of regional temperature, precipitation, and tree ring variables. Estimated hydraulic heads had a slightly greater range prior to the 1960s, most prominently during an interval of lowered ground water levels between 1930 and 1942. Regression results demonstrate that moisture sensitive tree ring data are viable predictors of past ground water levels and may be useful for studies of aquifers in regions that lack long, high quality precipitation records.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1249-1259
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Water Resources Association
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2003


  • Climate change
  • Ground water hydrology
  • Principal component analysis
  • Statistical analysis
  • Tree rings


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