Water Resources Center

Northwest Missouri Groundwater Province

The Northwest Missouri groundwater province has geologic characteristics similar to those in the northeastern part of the state. However, in northwest Missouri there are no high-yield, potable bedrock aquifers available, and the glacial drift is typically more water productive than to the east. A test drilling program conducted in northwestern Missouri in the 1950s delineated the axes of numerous drift-filled preglacial channels, most of which are covered with younger glacial drift. The channels were the preglacial stream valleys, and were filled with water-borne coarse sediments during glacial periods. Properly constructed wells producing from favorable locations in the drift-filled channels can produce several hundred gallons of water per minute, and are locally used for irrigation as well as public water supply.

Like in northeastern Missouri, thick alluvial deposits underlying the floodplains of the major rivers are a significant source of water for agriculture and well as public water supply. Yields of 2,000 gallons of water per minute or more are possible from properly constructed wells in favorable areas of the Missouri River alluvium. Alluvial deposits along lesser streams generally yield substantially less water.

The Northwest Missouri groundwater province is estimated to contain about 11.2 percent of Missouri's potable groundwater, about 55.8 trillion gallons.