How To 'Talk' Groundwater
In the next 12 issues of National Driller the American Ground Water Trust (AGWT) will present a series of basic groundwater education articles to help explain occurrence, development, and protection of this incredible natural resource.
Each monthly topic will serve as a basic education building-block that can help inform citizens, communities and decision-makers about economic and environmental significance of groundwater. An educational drawing or diagram will be included in each article to help explain some aspect of groundwater. After publication in National Driller, individual camera-ready copies of each article can be obtained free from AGWT.
The 12 articles in the series will provide answers to frequently asked questions and provide suggestions about how the information can be used.
- Where Does Groundwater Come From? - How old is groundwater? Where would it go if we didn't use it? How far does groundwater travel beneath the surface?
- How Rivers, Lakes and Groundwater Are Connected? - When does groundwater give flow to rivers and when do rivers recharge groundwater? Where does the water in a wetland come from? Where does it go?
- The Geology Behind the Occurrence of Springs - What is a spring? Where does spring water originate? How is spring water different from well water?
- The ABC of Aquifers - Aquifers contain groundwater but not all groundwater is in aquifers!
- What Is a Water Table? - Everybody uses the words water table, many donOt have the correct definition.
- How Are Wells Drilled? - Many techniques are used. Geology differences explain why there is not a one-size-fits-all method of well construction. In some cases, the purpose of the well will determine how it is drilled.
- How Are Wells Designed? - A water well is an engineered hole designed to ensure efficient, reliable and safe access to groundwater. Geologic, hydrologic and regulatory factors will determine drilled depth, well diameter, screen selection, type of casing etc.
- Equipment Used in Wells - Correct pump selection is important. On what basis is the type of pump chosen? Many wells have scientific equipment installed. What are the basic differences among monitoring wells, observation wells and test wells?
- Maintaining Water Wells - Some wells may last forever. Most will need attention to remain efficient. How do well owners know if their well needs attention?
- How to Protect Groundwater - Resource protection is a great objective. What can citizens and communities do to help protect groundwater quality? What can groundwater industry professionals do to increase groundwater awareness?
- Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) - When there is surplus water it gets pumped underground and when there is a shortage it gets pumped back to the surface. Simple concept, could help solve shortages. What are the geologic, management and regulatory constraints on ASR?
- Groundwater, the Life Blood of the Environment - The final article of the series. How dependent are we on groundwater? What role does the sub-surface part of the hydrologic system play in sustaining the environment?
So why is the topic of groundwater education so important to National Driller's readers? Well for a start, just about all of you drink groundwater! In the US 50% of all drinking water is from wells, and nearly all bottled water is groundwater. For most rural areas and for many towns, groundwater is the vital supply source for industry, agriculture, and homes.
Many National Driller readers are professional providers of goods and services relate to supply, protection and remediation of groundwater.
There is ever increasing pressure on water resources. Groundwater use can be sustainable, provided it is carefully managed and protected. Even in areas traditionally supplied by surface water, groundwater could become more important. For example, water management strategies in many areas will increasingly rely on techniques such as ASR (aquifer storage and recovery) in which surplus water in rivers and lakes is recharged into aquifers and pumped out as groundwater when surface supplies run low.
There will be an additional 100 million people in the US by 2050. Educating the public and decision-makers about the importance of groundwater will assist in achieving equable and sustainable use of this precious resource. If it becomes contaminated - we canOt use it. If it is over exploited, we lose the opportunity to achieve sustainability by balancing use and natural replenishment.
People involved in the groundwater industry can play a key role in education. Not only do you have expertise and technical understanding about groundwater, you also have a strong vested interest in having citizens, communities, and decision-makers share your insights about how to effectively protect and manage the resource.