Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Lee A. Opheim


It’s hard to imagine the well running dry in the United States. Over 4.2 trillion gallons of water, or 20,000 gallons for each American, will fall, on the average, over forty-eight contiguous states each day in the form of rain, snow, sleet, or hail. This averages about thirty inches of precipitation per year. Water is the lifeblood of agriculture. While many farmers and ranchers receive an adequate supply of water from natural precipitation cycles, others do not receive an adequate supply and must depend upon irrigation to supplement the water supply which is available. The development of ground water supplies is very important for the economic growth of South Dakota. In 1955 South Dakota had the highest ration of water use from ground water sources of any state, about seventy-six percent. Since it is such an important source of water, South Dakota citizens should know where ground water is found, why it is there, how much of it there is, who is using it, and what restrictions are placed on that use. The purpose of this thesis is to collect available data concerning the previous questions and present it in a manner which can be interpreted by the layman. The thesis will cover the natural and artificial factors which determine the quantity and the location of shallow ground water, the proper planning methods for the development of this resource for agricultural uses, and the laws that govern this development. This thesis will determine the occurrence of irrigation in the study area and the fluctuations of shallow ground water levels according to observation well measurements in the vicinity of the heaviest concentration of irrigation.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Water resources development -- South Dakota
Water in Agriculture -- South Dakota
Groundwater -- South Dakota
Big Sioux River (S.D.)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University