Groundwater in Crisis? Addressing Groundwater Challenges in Michigan (USA) as a Template for the Great Lakes

Alan D. Steinman, Donald G. Uzarski, David P. Lusch, Carol Miller, Patrick Doran, Tom Zimnicki, Philip Chu, Jon Allan, Jeremiah Asher, John Bratton, Don Carpenter, Dave Dempsey, Chad Drummond, John Esch, Anne Garwood, Anna Harrison, Lawrence D. Lemke, Jim Nicholas, Wendy Ogilvie, Brendan O’learyPaul Sachs, Paul Seelbach, Teresa Seidel, Amanda Suchy, John Yellich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Groundwater historically has been a critical but understudied, underfunded, and underap-preciated natural resource, although recent challenges associated with both groundwater quantity and quality have raised its profile. This is particularly true in the Laurentian Great Lakes (LGL) region, where the rich abundance of surface water results in the perception of an unlimited water supply but limited attention on groundwater resources. As a consequence, groundwater management recommendations in the LGL have been severely constrained by our lack of information. To address this information gap, a virtual summit was held in June 2021 that included invited participants from local, state, and federal government entities, universities, non-governmental organizations, and private firms in the region. Both technical (e.g., hydrologists, geologists, ecologists) and policy experts were included, and participants were assigned to an agricultural, urban, or coastal wetland breakout group in advance, based on their expertise. The overall goals of this groundwater summit were fourfold: (1) inventory the key (grand) challenges facing groundwater in Michigan; (2) identify the knowledge gaps and scientific needs, as well as policy recommendations, associated with these challenges; (3) construct a set of conceptual models that elucidate these challenges; and (4) develop a list of (tractable) next steps that can be taken to address these challenges. Absent this type of information, the sustainability of this critical resource is imperiled.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3008
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • Agriculture
  • Coastal wetlands
  • Great Lakes
  • Groundwater
  • Irrigation
  • Urban water


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