US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Ground Water, 45(2), March-April 2007 (pp. 196-208); doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2006.00273.x


A regional regression model was developed to estimate the spatial distribution of ground water recharge in subhumid regions. The regional regression recharge (RRR) model was based on a regression of basin-wide estimates of recharge from surface water drainage basins, precipitation, growing degree days (GDD), and average basin specific yield (SY). Decadal average recharge, precipitation, and GDD were used in the RRR model. The RRR estimates were derived from analysis of stream base flow using a computer program that was based on the Rorabaugh method. As expected, there was a strong correlation between recharge and precipitation. The model was applied to statewide data in Minnesota. Where precipitation was least in the western and northwestern parts of the state (50 to 65 cm/year), recharge computed by the RRR model also was lowest (0 to 5 cm/year). A strong correlation also exists between recharge and SY. SY was least in areas where glacial lake clay occurs, primarily in the northwest part of the state; recharge estimates in these areas were in the 0- to 5-cm/year range. In sand-plain areas where SY is greatest, recharge estimates were in the 15- to 29-cm/year range on the basis of the RRR model. Recharge estimates that were based on the RRR model compared favorably with estimates made on the basis of other methods. The RRR model can be applied in other subhumid regions where region wide data sets of precipitation, streamflow, GDD, and soils data are available.