Blog  /  March 2018  /  Groundwater: An Extremely Valuable Natural Resource

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National Groundwater Awareness Week, which was established in 1999, is an annual observance aimed at highlighting the responsible development, management, and use of groundwater.  The week also serves as a platform to promote yearly water well testing and well maintenance to prevent waterborne illnesses.  This year’s National Groundwater Awareness Week, which is sponsored by the National Ground Water Association (NGWA), takes place from March 11 – 17 and provides an opportunity for people to learn about the importance of the resource and how it impacts lives.  Additionally, the week’s 2018 theme of “Tend. Test. Treat.” was created to encourage a more holistic approach to sustain an adequate supply of quality water.


Groundwater Facts According to NGWA:

  • Only 1 percent of the water on Earth is useable, 99 percent of which is groundwater.  
  • Groundwater is the world’s most extracted raw material with withdrawal rates in the estimated range of 259 trillion gallons per year.  Americans alone use 79.6 billion gallons of groundwater each day.
  • Groundwater is 20 to 30 times larger than all US lakes, streams, and rivers combined.
  • 44 percent of the US population depends on groundwater for its drinking water supply and more than 13.2 million households -- representing 34 million people -- have their own well.
  • Groundwater accounts for 33 percent of all the water used by US municipalities.
  • In addition to supplying drinking water, groundwater is also used for irrigation, livestock, thermoelectric power, mining, and manufacturing, among several other applications.  53.5 billion gallons of groundwater are used for agricultural irrigation each day. In 1990 that number was 2.2 billion.
  • The largest US aquifer is the Ogallala, underlying 250,000 square miles stretching from Texas to South Dakota.  Scientists estimate it could take 6,000 years to naturally refill the aquifer if it were ever fully depleted.
  • California pumps 10.7 billion gallons of groundwater each day, a third more than the second-highest state, Texas.


Biggest Groundwater Myths According to NGWA:

  • Groundwater removed from the Earth is never returned.
  • Groundwater migrates thousands of miles.
  • Groundwater is not a significant source of water supply.
  • Groundwater is abundantly available, therefore does not need to be conserved.
  • There is no relationship between groundwater and surface water.


National Groundwater Awareness Week

*Source:  National Ground Water Association


About National Ground Water Association

The National Ground Water Association is a not-for-profit professional society and trade association for the global groundwater industry.  The Association’s vision is to be the leading groundwater association advocating for responsible development, management, and use of water.  Global members of the National Ground Water Association include leading public and private sector groundwater scientists, engineers, water well system professionals, manufacturers, and suppliers of groundwater-related products and services.