Date of Award

May 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Shangping Xu

Committee Members

Timothy Grudnl, Charlie Paradis


The Root River watershed, located in southeastern Wisconsin, was selected to be the subject of a study modeling the impacts of urbanization and climate change on groundwater recharge. Historical and projected (2035) land use data for the study area was sourced from the Southeast Wisconsin Regional Planning Committee (SEWRPC). The USGS Precipitation and Runoff Modelling System (PRMS) was selected to estimate recharge from a 35-year period of historical climate data (1980-2014). PRMS was run for the full 35-year time period under each land-use scenario and model outputs for evapotranspiration (ET), runoff, and recharge were calculated on a daily time-step.

Model simulations produced an average of 5.76 inches of annual recharge under the 2035 land use scenario compared to 5.70 inches of recharge for 1963 land use over the course of the 35-year simulation. The modest increase of simulated recharge coinciding with an increase in urbanization is the result of a combination of the removal of area that contributes to evapotranspiration (ET) and model simulations of runoff retention and infiltration in urban areas. The model input parameter related to infiltration rates for urban retention ponds had the strongest influence on the relationship between recharge and urban area.

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Geology Commons