Design and Evaluation of Rain Gardens for Enhancement of Groundwater Recharge

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Project Number:

WR03R001

Funding Year:

2003

Contract Period:

7/1/2003 - 6/30/2005

Funding Source:

UWS, USGS

Investigator(s):
PIs:
  • Kenneth Potter, UW-Madison
Abstract:

In highly urbanized and rapidly urbanizing portions of Wisconsin, groundwater depletion can and has occurred as a result of excessive pumping and reduction of groundwater recharge due to introduction of impervious surfaces. In past and ongoing research we have demonstrated that rain gardens (sunken gardens that receive surface runoff) have the potential of increasing local groundwater recharge rates well above natural rates. We have developed continuous hydrologic models and used them to evaluate the performance of various rain garden designs. We have also constructed an experimental rain garden to provide validation data and improve our understanding of rain garden performance. The objectives of the proposed research are twofold- to develop design charts and other guidelines to facilitate the design of rain gardens, and to operate the recently completed experimental rain garden for the two-year project duration to provide information on the long-term behavior and data for evaluating the ability of our models to simulate long-term performance. The design charts and other information developed in this project will greatly facilitate the use of rain gardens to enhance groundwater recharge in Wisconsin, and hence will contribute to the mitigation of aquifer depletion and groundwater degradation in highly urbanized and rapidly urbanizing portions of the state.

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