Mar 07 , 2023
Groundwater – What You Need to Know
Far below the ground, hidden from sight, lies one of our most important resources: groundwater. Although we draw around 70% of the freshwater we use daily from lakes and reservoirs, the other 30% comes from groundwater, which makes it a very significant source for both human consumption and agriculture. Unfortunately, just like surface water, groundwater is also at risk for pollution and contamination.
Since it’s National Groundwater Awareness Week (yes, really), we thought we’d take a dip into this topic and learn more about this very important resource.
What Is Groundwater?
It is, quite literally, underground water. When water from runoff, rain and snowmelt seeps into the ground, it travels through both soil and porous rock until it reaches the water table, also known as the zone of saturation. Once there, it enters an aquifer, a collection of rock, sand and soil that contains large amounts of water. Aquifers are enormous and vast, spanning hundreds and thousands of miles. For example, the largest aquifer in the world, the Ogallala Aquifer, stretches across 112,000,000 acres of the American Midwest.
How Does this Affect You?
As you know, groundwater doesn’t just stay underground. Through the use of wells, drilling and pumping, groundwater is brought up to the surface and used for our many needs. Roughly 44% of folks in the U.S. alone get their drinking water from groundwater. After humans, our crops and livestock are the next biggest groundwater consumer, with 64% of it going directly to agriculture.
How Does Groundwater Become Polluted?
What comes up must go down, and for water, that means going all the way down to the aquifer. Unfortunately, many contaminants love to hitch a ride down, too. If a contaminant is spilled or otherwise enters the water cycle, chances are it will eventually show up in groundwater, too. The soil, sand and rock act as a crude filter, but they can’t catch everything. Evidence shows that, in some places, as much as 50% of pollutants in the ground will eventually find their way into groundwater.
Some contaminants, like iron and manganese, enter groundwater naturally, but most enter as a result of human activity. Remember all that agricultural use of groundwater? Well, the fertilizers and pesticides used on plants find their way into groundwater, where they can seriously harm anyone who might drink it. The same goes for waste, landfills and chemical storage systems, which could leak bacteria, heavy metals and many other substances. If something has already contaminated surface water, it’s very likely to infiltrate groundwater.
If the contamination of groundwater concerns you, or if you live in a rural area that uses groundwater for drinking water regularly, you may want to seriously consider buying a comprehensive water filtration system. King Water Filtration creates several systems specifically for wells, and they filter for all major contaminants and cosmetic issues like taste and coloring. But that’s not all: Because groundwater is filtered through limestone and other calcium-heavy minerals, it is often very hard. But that’s no problem for a KWF system.
If you’d like more information about groundwater and its conservation, you can visit the National Groundwater Awareness Week website and explore their free resources. And as always, if you’re ready to invest in a comprehensive, warranty-covered water filtration system, you can call us at 855-957-2166 or visit our website to set up a consultation. Happy hydrating!