For more than a decade, Barr has worked with the Metropolitan Council to develop, maintain, and update a groundwater-flow model of the eleven-county metropolitan area of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. The current version, Metro Model 3, is a major update to Metro Model 2, also developed by Barr. The model assists in evaluating groundwater use and water-sustainability issues, surface-water–groundwater interaction, short-term and long-term regional water planning, the effects of changing climate on groundwater, and groundwater appropriations.
The model includes all of the major aquifers and aquitards in the region and encompasses an area of about 8,400 square miles. Metro Model 3 is available to governments and private users addressing groundwater appropriations and sustainability issues. Barr also developed a user’s manual and helped Metropolitan Council staff use the model to optimize high-capacity pumping in sub-regions of the model.
Metro Model 3 was most recently updated in 2018 to include the most up-to-date regional pumping and climatic data. The model is used as a starting point for most wellhead-protection plans and sub-regional groundwater-flow models in the Twin Cities area. To date, more than 15 different sub-regional models have used Metro Model 3 as the underlying model, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars for local governments.