Field Notes

June 3, 2021

When it rains, where does the water go?

Read Time: 1 minute

Rainwater runs off your property, soaks into the ground or enters a storm drain, and then enters the nearest body of water. From there, depending on where you live, that water could end up in entirely different places!

Did you know that in Kosciusko County, rainwater can end up in either Lake Michigan or the Gulf of Mexico?

That’s because our county is split by the Continental Divide. The divide is located near North Webster. If you visit, you’ll see a historical marker!

When it rains, where does water go?

Follow the rain

Use this tool to find out exactly what path a rain drop follows, depending on where it lands. Click in the upper half of Kosciusko County and you’ll be taken to Lake Michigan; click on the lower half and you’ll send up in the Gulf of Mexico.

River Runner

Everyone lives in a watershed. Any water that lands on your property is funneled into a nearby body of water! If you live on a lake, that process is obvious. But even if you don’t have a lake house (or ever visited a lake) water lands on your property will be washed into local waterways.

Protect the health of the lakes by being careful about what you leave on your lawn. Here are a couple forms of phosphorus to watch out for:

  • Many kinds of fertilizer include phosphorus, a nutrient that can cause rapid and abundant weed and algae growth when introduced to a lake in large quantities. Try to limit fertilizer in your landscaping, or use a fertilizer that doesn’t have phosphorus.
  • Make sure you pick up after your pets! Pet waste will eventually soak into the ground or be washed away, but that doesn’t mean its gone. It’s another source of phosphorus! Whether through groundwater or runoff, pet waste can end up in a local lake.