MODFLOW-NWT model used to assess groundwater availability in the uppermost principal aquifer systems of the Williston structural basin, United States and Canada

Metadata Updated: November 12, 2020

A three-dimensional groundwater flow model was developed to characterize groundwater resources the uppermost principal aquifers in the Williston structural basin in parts of Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota in the United States and of Manitoba and Saskatchewan in Canada as part of a detailed assessment of the groundwater availability of the area. The uppermost principal aquifers are comprised of the glacial, lower Tertiary, and Upper Cretaceous aquifer systems. The model was developed as a part of the U.S. Geological Survey Water Availability and Use Science Program's effort to conduct large-scale multidisciplinary regional studies of groundwater availability. The numerical model is intended to be used to (1) simulate hydrologic scenarios of interest to groundwater managers and to advance the understanding of groundwater budgets and components including recharge, discharge, and aquifer storage for the entire system, (2) compute historical and projected system response to natural and anthropogenic stresses, and (3) evaluate potential hydrologic monitoring programs at a scale relevant to basin-wide water-management decisions. The three-dimensional groundwater-flow model was developed using the numerical modeling software, MODFLOW-NWT. The steady-state (mean) hydrological conditions included data from 1981 to 2005, and transient (temporally-varying) conditions included a combination of a steady state period with data prior to 1960, and a transient period from 1961 to 2005. The model was calibrated by attempting to match simulated and measured or estimated hydraulic heads, differences in hydraulic heads between aquifers, stream base flow, and measured flow at flowing artesian wells. Sub-regional water budgets for the model area were produced with ZONEBUDGET. This USGS data release contains all of the input and output files for the model described in the associated model documentation report ( This data release also includes (1) MODFLOW-NWT (version 1.0.9) source code, and (2) ZONEBUDGET source code.

Access & Use Information

License: No license information was provided. If this work was prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person's official duties it is considered a U.S. Government Work.

Downloads & Resources


Metadata Date August 14, 2017
Metadata Created Date November 12, 2020
Metadata Updated Date November 12, 2020
Reference Date(s) January 1, 2018 (publication)
Frequency Of Update notPlanned

Metadata Source

Harvested from DOI Open Data

Graphic Preview

Image of the model domain and active area of the model.

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Date August 14, 2017
Metadata Created Date November 12, 2020
Metadata Updated Date November 12, 2020
Reference Date(s) January 1, 2018 (publication)
Responsible Party U.S. Geological Survey (Point of Contact)
Contact Email
Access Constraints Use Constraints: None, Access Constraints: None. Acknowledgement of the U.S. Geological Survey would be appreciated in products derived from this data release.
Bbox East Long -98.345982
Bbox North Lat 50.928058
Bbox South Lat 44.308885
Bbox West Long -108.801363
Coupled Resource
Frequency Of Update notPlanned
Graphic Preview Description Image of the model domain and active area of the model.
Graphic Preview File
Graphic Preview Type jpg
Licence The data have been approved for release by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Although the data have been subjected to rigorous review and are substantially complete, the USGS reserves the right to revise the data pursuant to further analysis and review. Furthermore, the data are released on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from authorized or unauthorized use. Although the data, software, and related material have been processed successfully on a computer system at the USGS, no warranty expressed or implied is made regarding the display or utility of the data on any other system, or for general or scientific purposes, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty. The USGS or the U.S. Government shall not be held liable for improper or incorrect use of the data described and/or contained herein. Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.
Metadata Language
Metadata Type geospatial
Progress completed
Spatial Data Service Type
Spatial Reference System
Spatial Harvester True
Temporal Extent Begin 1960-01-01
Temporal Extent End 2005-12-31

Didn't find what you're looking for? Suggest a dataset here.