Surface to Subsurface
Iowa’s groundwater supplies a natural water storage and distribution system that provides drinking water for more than 80 percent of Iowa’s population and helps to support Iowa’s important agricultural economy. Thousands of wells across the state provide access to these groundwater resources. Over the decades, well-drillers have collected more than 35,000 samples of the rock and soil strata beneath the land’s surface. This collection, curated by the IGS, offers a glimpse of Iowa’s subsurface geologic and hydrologic setting and provides valuable information to help us better understand and protect Iowa’s vital groundwater resources. Thus, the relationship between IGS and IIHR further strengthens the expertise in both surface and groundwater processes.
Floods to Drought
The Iowa Flood Center, a research unit within IIHR, offers unparalleled expertise and information related to flooding. But what about drought? The IGS has access to data from scores of wells across the state. IIHR and IGS propose to revive a comprehensive groundwater monitoring network to better monitor and model Iowa’s groundwater resources. This will provide communities and decision-makers with the information to make sound decisions related to drilling new wells and changing pumping levels for existing wells, and their impact on local aquifers.
Research and Information for Iowans
IIHR and IGS together form an organization with expertise that now covers all aspects of Iowa’s hydrologic cycle — precipitation, evaporation and evapotranspiration, surface flow, infiltration, and groundwater flow. This broader scope will facilitate collaborations and allow researchers to develop the best possible water-related information, analyses, and tools for Iowans.