Groundwater Sustainability Initiative

A water shortage in Michigan?

Surrounded by five Great Lakes, one would assume no corner of Michigan could face a water shortage. But Ottawa County - the fastest growing state and an agricultural powerhouse - is facing such a challenge.

HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? Like much of the U.S., many County residents and businesses access water from private wells that tap underground water sources, or aquifers. Over the last two decades, many experienced water issues and reported their problems to the County.

COMPREHENSIVE GROUNDWATER STUDY: Ottawa County hired Michigan State University to conduct a study, which revealed water levels in the Countys deep bedrock aquifer are declining; and in some areas, sodium chloride (salt) levels are rising. Without intervention, these problems will increase.

Ottawa County Groundwater Sustainability Initiative

WHAT WE'RE DOING ABOUT IT: Utilizing the groundwater study data, County leadership and a diverse group of scientists, policymakers, and other stakeholders launched the Groundwater Sustainability Initiative to ensure our residents and businesses have permanent and sustainable access to fresh water now and into the future.

LEARN MORE AND TAKE ACTION: This web portal contains a slew of resources to Explore Management Solutions, GIS mapping, or Delve into the Data sections below. If you or someone you know has a groundwater problem, use our Report an Issue forum

Management Solutions

The County develop a plan for practical solutions to protect this vital resource - the Proactive Strategies Index.

Explore this guidebook highlighting steps oriented toward alleviating the crisis.

Explore the Guidebook
Ottawa County Groundwater Sustainability Initiative - Proactive Strategies Index

Proactive Strategy Index in Action

Water-Conscious Landscapes

A specific target of the Index includes reducing the amount of water used by residents, businesses, and public facilities to maintain non-native, turf-style grass lawns.

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Ottawa County Groundwater Sustainability Initiative - Proactive Strategies Index

Partnerships for Youth Education

Strategy 3 of the Proactive Strategy Index includes working with local educators to help add local groundwater education into K-12 curriculum.

Over the past few years, Department staff have worked with Allendale-area teachers to introduce the subject. You can explore some of their students' work by clicking on the images at right.

Stay tuned for more featured projects as staff deploy more youth education initiatives.

Youth Education page and videos

GIS Mapping

Explore a map showing various groundwater conditions at different points in time, as calculated by the Michigan State University's Institute of Water Research

GIS Mapping

Delve Into the Data

Dive deeper into the technical study results and key concepts related to Ottawa County's unique hydrology.

Learn More »

Report An Issue

Have a groundwater issue? Learn more about what actions you can take.

Learn More »

Get Involved

Be an advocate for water conservation
Call or email us today!

(616) 738-4852

Other Water Conservation Resources
Ottawa County Groundwater Educational Brochure
Ottawa County Groundwater Written Synopsis

This list of resources and educational documents will help you get started conserving water.

Save Water