Those issues have been topics of discussion for years, with the situation magnified in recent years because of drought conditions.
In the 1950s and ’60s, Stevens Point was thought to be sitting upon an underground lake, with an abundance of water underneath. However, subsequent studies indicated that there isn’t an underground lake and the aquifer isn’t as large as believed, plus it’s subject to the ebb and flow of ground water.
Ray Schmidt, water quality specialist for Portage County, said parties involved in the use of ground water have been discussing the situation for years and are working to resolve the issue.
Fingers have pointed to agricultural irrigation as a leading factor in the drawdown of ground water, and Schmidt said agricultural entities are working to reduce their effect.
Working with agricultural interests as well as the village of Plover, which has a nearby high-capacity well, Schmidt said the Little Plover River continued to flow this summer after the stream had dried annually in stretches during the first decade of this century.
Schmidt said the amount of water used for irrigation is more than 185 million gallons of water pumped throughout the day in the Central Sands region, with Portage County responsible for about 92 million gallons per day pumped.