Water supply is a designated use that is particularly vulnerable to on-going and future activities, such as land use change, industrial and public water supply withdrawals, and contamination by nonpoint source pollution. In particular, groundwater is critical not only for industrial and public water supply, but also as an important source of hydrological input to the Muskegon River Watershed.
Groundwater input influences stream temperature, and can help determine whether a stream's temperature regime is suitable for a cold- or cool-water fishery. Both groundwater quantity and quality are currently at potential risk in the Muskegon River Watershed. This is particularly true in counties where water withdrawals are increasing or where changes in land use are resulting in an increase in nonpoint source pollution to the groundwater.
Our focus on wells reflects concerns over human and ecosystem health, as contaminated drinking water is a growing concern throughout the region, and abandoned wells are a prime example of how pollutants can enter groundwater. Both abandoned and improperly capped wells provide an entry point for nonpoint source pollutants as they travel down through the well shaft or down the outside of the well shaft.