The importance of ground water is immeasurable. Ground water is a great source of good quality water used for drinking and irrigation worldwide. It is the future source of clean water supply for future generations of people. New technology to bring up groundwater reserves will provide people who now only have access to polluted surface water, a fresh clean supply of water.
What actually is ground water? It is water that seeps slowly through and filters through layers of soil, gravel, fractured rock and sand. The water is purified as it goes deeper underground. Saturation zones of ground water, called aquifers are typically in sand, sandstone, limestone, shale, gravel or fractured rock. The amount of ground water in an aquifer is constantly changing as water is being used or more water is filtering in. Aquifers can be just below ground level to hundreds or thousands of feet below the earth’s surface. Aquifers are found everywhere on the earth.
Rains and melting snow replenish aquifers of ground water; however water tables can be drastically reduced as the ground water is used by large population centers or used in heavy irrigation. Aquifer water can be easily polluted by containments leaching from landfills, gas tanks, fertilizers, chemical spills, pesticides, mining, septic tanks, and from contaminated surface water. The popular method of retrieving gas and oil in shale by shooting contaminated water thousands of feet below the earth’s surface also pollutes ground water.
Under utilized, ground water makes up to over ninety percent of the unfrozen fresh water supplies in the world. It is important to protect it to provide safe water to drink and use. Ground water needs to be managed properly and not wasted or fouled.
The great thing about ground water is that it is a renewable source and will replenish itself with an adequate amount of precipitation. It is also cheaper to tap into than surface water which has to be treated to make it safe for human consumption. Surface water needs an infrastructure to move the water to where it is needed and a place to store it. Ground water just needs to be pumped to the surface.
Use of more pure ground water is in the future of many of the third world countries who now depend on mostly contaminated surface water to meet their needs. With new engineering methods and information on how to integrate surface and ground water reserves, more ground water will be available to more people throughout the world. New techniques are being explored in reducing the loss and waste of ground water which will also be helpful in maintaining good levels of ground water in the earth.
Educating the human population to understand our under ground water system will indeed help protect our supply of usable water that will reach far into the future and provide for most everyone on the planet earth with fresh clean water to drink and use for generations to come. Ground water is more than important, it is essential to the human population.