National Groundwater Awareness Week has arrived. From March 8-14, Heron is joining hundreds of other businesses in the promotion and protection of clean groundwater around the world.
Getting us started is a great piece of writing from Kevin McCray, Executive Director of the National Groundwater Association. If you’re one of our readers in the USA, don’t miss it! Read on…
Groundwater: out of sight, but not out of mind
Some 44% of the U.S. population depends on groundwater, the water that fills cracks and other openings in beds of rock and sand, for its drinking water supply — be it from either a public source or private well. In rural areas, the number is about 96%. That fact alone justifies the need for National Groundwater Awareness Week, to be observed March 8-14, 2015. But groundwater is important to us in many other ways, as well. Consider:
- Groundwater provides much of the flow of many streams; often lakes and streams are “windows” to the water table. Groundwater adds 492 billion gallons per day to U.S. surface water bodies. In large part, the flow in a stream represents water that has flowed from the ground into the stream channel.
- Scientists estimate U.S. groundwater reserves to be at least 33,000 trillion gallons — equal to the amount discharged into the Gulf of Mexico by the Mississippi River in the past 200 years.
- The United States uses 79.6 billion gallons per day of fresh groundwater for public supply, private supply, irrigation, livestock, manufacturing, mining, thermoelectric power, and other purposes.
- Groundwater is tapped through wells placed in water-bearing soils and rocks beneath the surface of the Earth. There are nearly 15.9 million of these wells serving households, cities, business, and agriculture every day. Wells are constructed by the 8,100 contracting firms employing nearly 45,000 people dedicated to providing and protecting our nation’s groundwater supplies.
- Irrigation accounts for the largest use of groundwater in the United States, about 67.2 percent of all the groundwater pumped each day. Some 53.5 billion gallons of groundwater are used daily for agricultural irrigation from more than 407,913 wells. Irrigation is a major reason for the abundance of fresh produce and grains that we all enjoy.
- One ton of groundwater used by industry generates an estimated $14,000 worth of output.
These facts help us connect with the important role we each play as stewards, or protectors, of groundwater. Man can adversely affect the resource. Fortunately, there are simple steps that will help protect groundwater and the wells systems that distribute it.
- Always use licensed or certified water well drillers and pump installers when a well is constructed or serviced, or when the pump is installed or serviced.
- Keep hazardous materials away from any well. Never dump such materials, motor oil, or anything else that could impact water quality onto the land surface, into a hole or pit, or into a surface water supply.
Groundwater around the world
At the end of 2014, Heron was at the Las Vegas Groundwater Expo. We met Chris King, a representative from Healing Hands International. Chris was interested in finding a more accurate (and cost effective…and reliable) way to measure static water level and finished well depth on a handful of projects in Haiti and Ethiopia. We happened to have just refurbished two, 300-foot dipperT units. Donating them to Healing Hands International seemed like the right thing to do. So off to the Caribbean and Africa those units went. You can read more about this story in the March issue of the Water Well Journal.
This week, we ask you to think about groundwater and how you use this important resource. And keep an eye on our blog. There are more great stories to come!