Well construction in Michigan and growth related to Urban Sprawl 1930-2005

The table and images below show wells drilled from 1930 to 2005. Table 1 describes the number of wells constructed in each of the seven counties in Southeast Michigan, from 1930 to 2005. During this period, a total  of 75,145 wells were constructed in this region.  Also, Table 1 and the graph, Well Construction by County, Southeast Michigan 1930-2005, show that Livingston County had the highest number of wells constructed in the region (21,295), with Oakland a close second (20,893).

The graph in Figure X below depicts the number of wells in each county from 1930 to 2005.  Looking into the county level construction of wells through the decades, five of seven counties (Livingston, Oakland, Washtenaw, Macomb, and Monroe) showed significant increases in construction between 1960 and 1990 (See Total by County column).  Livingston County had the highest number of construction between 1970 and 1990 but between 1991 and 2000, Oakland County had more than twice the number of wells constructed compared to Livingston County, indicating a shift in growth area in the region.

The significant increase in the number of wells constructed in St. Clair County between 1990 and 2005 is also worth noting. Only 17%, or 369, (n=2,196 excluding undated wells) were built from 1930 to 1990 but 83% of dated wells, or 1,827 wells, were added from 1991 to 2005. About 4% or 86 wells were undated. St. Clair County showed indications of increased demand for water consumption during these decades. On the other hand, while Wayne County indicated 74%, or 735 (n=990, excluding undated wells), construction between 1930 and 1990, only 26% of dated wells or 255 wells were added past the 1990s.

Overall, wells as water sources for household/domestic, industrial, or public municipal uses are basic infrastructures necessary for development and growth in a given geographic area. The images and table on wells construction presented here provide an alternative way for viewing the pattern of growth and transformation in Southeast Michigan.  To a degree, the distribution of wells represents urbanization beyond the boundaries of the organized delivery of municipal services. As such the images represent a reverse image of dense urban development. At the same time, the distribution shows a broad swath of development beyond city boundaries.

Table 1 and Figure X and Y summarize the data on wells constructed in Southeast Michigan by county and decade. Table 1 and Figure X includes 7.1% (n=75,145) of wells lacking information on date of construction but Figure Y excludes this information.

The images below depict well construction by decade from 1930 to 2005. The first image shows the total construction over time and the remainder break down the totals by decade.

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