Phase I of the 2003 State Water Resources Plan includes seven documents providing basic information about Missouri’s streams and rivers, groundwater, water use, water quality, interstate water issues, hydrologic extremes, and water law. Published reports include:

The purpose and contents of these supply assessment reports are summarized in the following paragraphs.

Surface Water Resources of Missouri

Surface Water Resources of Missouri contains a basin-by-basin assessment of Missouri’s surface water resources. Basins are grouped as follows: Upper Mississippi River tributaries, Missouri River tributaries north of the river, Missouri River tributaries south of the river, Lower Mississippi River tributaries, White River tributaries, and Arkansas River tributaries.

The report characterizes current surface water resources in Missouri so comparisons and evaluations can be made from one basin to the next. Text and illustrations describe water budget information (precipitation, evapo-transpiration, total yield, and surface water runoff), long-term flow data for major rivers, flow-duration curves, runoff volumes, draft-storage relations for different areas, baseline natural water quality, and brief statements about major water quality problems.

The close relationship between quality, recharge and discharge of groundwater and surface water in the Ozarks are discussed. River discharge hydrographs for years of lowest and highest flows are included for many basins. Streams that are used as public water supplies are identified. Volume and surface area information for major reservoirs, such as Corps of Engineers impoundments, major private reservoirs such as Lake of the Ozarks, and other reservoirs used for public water supply are in the report. In addition, reservoirs owned by departments of Conservation and Natural Resources are listed. 

WR-45. Surface Water Resources of Missouri (Missouri State Water Plan Series – Volume 1) 43.03 MB, by James E. Vandike, 122 p., 63 figs., 6 tbls., 1996.

Groundwater Resources of Missouri

Groundwater Resources of Missouri presents a detailed statewide assessment of the groundwater resources of the state. It provides information concerning the availability and natural quality of groundwater statewide. With this report, users can determine if groundwater in a particular province will supply the quantity and quality of water necessary to meet a particular purpose. Additionally, the report will be useful in helping protect groundwater resources from degradation.

The report subdivides Missouri into seven groundwater provinces whose boundaries were established using geologic and groundwater quality criteria. The provinces are as follows: Ozarks (Salem Plateau); Ozarks (Springfield Plateau); Southeastern Missouri (Bootheel), Mississippi River alluvium, and Missouri River alluvium; St. Francois Mountains; northwestern Missouri; northeastern Missouri; and Osage Plains of west-central Missouri.

The geology, aquifer characteristics, groundwater availability, and general quality of groundwater in the seven groundwater provinces are presented. The report also includes information about groundwater development, well construction criteria, groundwater contamination potential, fluctuations and trends of groundwater levels, aquifer volumes, and groundwater recharge and storage.

WR-46. Groundwater Resources of Missouri (Missouri State Water Plan Series – Volume II) 11.35 MB, by Don E. Miller and James E. Vandike.

Water Quality Assessment of Missouri

Water Quality Assessment of Missouri focuses on the current quality of Missouri’s surface water and groundwater. The report addresses the chemical, bacteriological, and radiological quality of water, natural and man-induced water quality changes, and the effects of waste disposal on water. It serves as a valuable reference for anyone seeking water quality information, whether for resource development or resource protection.

Data collected by various programs in DNR, the Department of Health, the Department of Conservation, and the U.S. Geological Survey are used to depict the current state of Missouri water quality, and delineate areas of water quality problems. Additional information about water quality can be found at the Water Protection Program website.

WR-47. Missouri Water Quality Assessment (Missouri State Water Plan Series – Volume III) 4.07 MB, by Cynthia M. Brookshire, 172 p., 53 figs., 57 tbls., 1997.

Water Use of Missouri

Water Use of Missouri describes the major water uses in the state. This comprehensive report has sections that detail the following: public water supply in Missouri, including residential, industrial, and commercial water use; livestock water use; irrigation water use; thermoelectric water use, including power plant cooling, steam power generation, and a discussion of consumptive use versus return flow use; in-stream flows and their uses; hydropower uses; water-based outdoor recreation; fish and wildlife water needs; and waterborne commodity transport water use, found on both the Missouri River and Mississippi River.

Descriptions of water uses also includes withdrawal quantities, and locations of registered major water users for selected categories. For more information about Major Water Users click here. Information about drinking water can be found at the Public Drinking Water website.

WR-48. Water Use of Missouri (Missouri State Water Plan Series – Volume IV) 14.11 MB, by Charles DuCharme and Todd Miller, 150 p., 36 figs., 14 tbls., 11 app., 1996.

Hydrologic Extremes in Missouri: Flood and Drought

Both flood and drought are important topics in water planning. Hydrologic Extremes in Missouri: Flood and Drought provides basic information about floods and droughts, specific to Missouri. An historical perspective is given, as well as information that can be used in the planning and design of water-related facilities. It describes concepts and terms helpful in understanding floods and droughts.

Floods and droughts can be devastating natural disasters. The characteristics and effects of floods depend on many complex factors. Heavy, localized rainfall in small watersheds can generate flash floods whose crests are difficult to predict. The speed at which these floods can occur often leads to loss of life as well as extensive property damage. Prolonged rainfall over large areas can generate regional floods that may affect numerous rivers and streams for longer periods of time. In the case of very large river systems such as the Missouri and Mississippi, snowmelt and rainfall hundreds of miles from the state can generate major floods along these rivers within the state. Although water levels rise relatively slowly in such floods, areas may remain inundated for several days or weeks.

Unlike floods, droughts are slow-acting disasters that may take months to develop. Floods are mostly restricted to the flood plains of the affected streams. Droughts are not restricted to such geographic boundaries, and can affect areas ranging in size from a few counties to several states.

WR-49. Hydrologic Extremes in Missouri: Flood and Drought (Missouri State Water Plan Series – Volume V) 19.64 MB, by John Drew and Sherry Chen, 104 p., 53 figs., 13 tbls., 2 app., 1997.

Related Water Resources Reports include Number 44 (available here in PDF format), Missouri Drought Response Plan, 1995, and Number 54, Flood Report Analysis ,1996. 

Water Resource Sharing: The Realities of Interstate Rivers

Missouri is the farthest state downstream on the Missouri River. It’s in the middle sections of the Mississippi River and Arkansas River, and an upstream state on the White River. Because of its location, Missouri can be greatly affected by activities and water policies in the upper basin states of the Missouri River and Mississippi River basins.

Missouri water policy also can affect downstream states on the Mississippi, Arkansas, and White rivers. Many serious issues affecting these rivers have less to do with their physical characteristics than with political, economic, and social trends. The issues affecting the Missouri, Mississippi, White and Arkansas rivers are very complex, and their potential impact on Missouri is so great that a detailed presentation of Missouri’s views and policy concerning these great rivers is necessary and is presented in Water Resource Sharing: The Realities of Interstate Rivers.

Learn more about Interstate Waters.

WR-50. Water Resource Sharing – The Realities of Interstate Rivers (Missouri State Water Plan Series – Volume VI) 4.87 MB, by Jerry D. Vineyard, 78 p., 44 figs., 4 tbls., 1997.

A Summary of Missouri Water Laws

Previous publications about Missouri Water Law were completed by T.E. Lauer in 1964 and 1969, and updated by Peter Davis and James Cunningham in 1977. Sufficient changes have occurred in the field of environmental law and regulation since 1977 to warrant the drafting of a new volume about this topic.

Legal restrictions on how we manage, use, and protect our water resources serve to balance individual rights with the needs of society. Water law is an integral part of the larger realm of water resources management, affecting public health, public safety, and the economic well-being of the state.

Chapters in this report include History and Overview (from the Attorney General’s Office), Water Rights, Protection from Water, Water Quality, Water Supply, Water Use, Boundaries and Interstate Waterways, and "other" water law topics. Useful appendices include a glossary of selected legal terms and acronyms, and an extensive bibliography. The report deals with statutory law, case law (court decisions), and legal doctrines relative to water supply and use in Missouri.

WR-51. Missouri Water Law (Missouri State Water Plan Series – Volume VII) 6.58 MB, by Charles R. Hays, Richard M. Gaffney and William J. Bryan.