WESTERVILLE, OH -- One of the most important natural resources directly impacting the quality of Americans’ lives — groundwater — is also one most people know little or nothing about, according to the National Ground Water Association.
“The problem is that people cannot be a good steward of something they don’t understand,” said NGWA Public Awareness Director Cliff Treyens. “But it’s never too late to learn, and there is no better time to learn about groundwater than during National Groundwater Awareness Week, which takes place March 10-16 this year.”
Ninety-nine percent of all available freshwater in the world is groundwater, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That means all the world’s rivers, lakes, and streams make up only one percent. “There is no other way to put it — groundwater is vital to meeting human and environmental needs, often in ways most people don’t realize,” said Treyens. For instance:
- On average, 30 percent of all streamflow in the United States is from groundwater, the USGS estimates.
- As much as 90 percent of the population in rural areas would have no reliable water source if it weren’t for private household water wells that tap groundwater.
- Agricultural irrigation in some of the most productive farmland in America would not be possible without an abundance of groundwater.
- Many ecosystems would disappear without sufficient groundwater feeding surface water bodies.
“Many citizens have no idea that all or part of the water they drink from public water systems may include groundwater,” Treyens said. “The states and, therefore, our nation have an enormous dependence on groundwater.”
One of the major purposes of National Groundwater Awareness Week is to help every citizen become a good steward of groundwater and — for those who depend on a household water well — a good water well steward.
NGWA, a nonprofit organization composed of U.S. and international groundwater professionals — contractors, equipment manufacturers, suppliers, scientists, and engineers — is dedicated to advancing groundwater knowledge. NGWA’s vision is to be the leading groundwater association that advocates the responsible development, management, and use of water.