Ottawa County is the fastest-growing county in Michigan, and a hub of the state’s ag industry. Its rural areas get most of their water from glacial and bedrock aquifers. Unfortunately, the unusual geology in Ottawa County prevents fresh water from recharging these aquifers in certain areas.
The county government started a program to address their groundwater challenges, which includes a strategy for educating the public. They reached out to us looking for a way to help people understand the geology behind the problem.
We designed a groundwater display with multi-layered, sliding panels to show the different layers of clay, bedrock, and groundwater in the county. The top panel shows graphics of raindrops to illustrate how rain usually recharges an aquifer. The side one, meanwhile, features a gradient from blue to yellow to show how declining water levels lead to increased salt levels. With the groundwater challenges display in hand, Ottawa County’s officials can make their presentations more memorable and effective.