National Groundwater Awareness Week March 5-11, 2017

Learn more about the water we drink during National Groundwater Awareness Week March 5-11, 2017.

How much do you know about groundwater? March 5-11, 2017, is National Groundwater Awareness Week. Michigan State University Extension challenges you to learn five new facts about groundwater this week.

The following are a few facts and links to more information, as well as sharing apps for your device that are interactive to help you learn more about this limited, precious resource.

Remember, there is no new water. What we have is what we have. We use the same water dinosaurs used. It is incredible to think about how we can use and reuse the same water hundreds and thousands of times.

Be water wise as you encourage others to be water wise. Life on Earth depends on clean water. We all must do our part to protect this vital resource.

Visit the Groundwater Foundation website for facts, quizzes and games to help you learn more about groundwater.

The Earth’s surface is 70 percent water, but only 1 percent is available for human use. Of that 1 percent, 99 percent of it is stored as groundwater.

Quick facts about groundwater:

  • Fifty-one percent of the U.S. population depends on groundwater for drinking water.
  • Groundwater is found in the spaces between particles of rock and dirt.
  • Ninety-nine percent of rural populations depend on groundwater for drinking.
  • Water is the only substance on Earth found naturally in three forms: solid, liquid and gas.
  • Groundwater helps grow our food. Sixty-four percent of groundwater is used for irrigation to grow crops.
  • Groundwater is an important component in many industrial processes.
  • Groundwater is a source of recharge for lakes, rivers and wetlands.

We must keep our groundwater free of contamination. Drinking contaminated groundwater can have serious health effects. Groundwater contaminated by a leaky septic system could cause diseases such as hepatitis and dysentery. Toxins leaching into well water can cause poisonings. Wildlife may be harmed by contaminated groundwater. Also, long-term effects such as certain types of cancer may also result from exposure to polluted water.

  • Groundwater is part of the hydrologic cycle. Contaminants in the atmosphere or bodies of surface water can eventually be transferred into our groundwater supplies.
  • Groundwater can be contaminated by materials from the land’s surface. Examples would be pesticides and fertilizers ending up in groundwater through runoff.
  • Road salts, motor oil and other toxins may seep into groundwater.
  • Uncontrolled hazardous wastes can leach into groundwater.
  • Storage tanks, gas, oil and other liquids, either above or below ground, can corrode, crack and develop leaks. This can cause serious groundwater contamination issues.

The Groundwater Foundation offers Groundwater Activities to learn more about ground water and access lesson plans to share with groups.

There is also a variety of apps available about groundwater. They range from groundwater monitoring to games to learning more about groundwater. Google search “groundwater apps” to select apps that fit your needs to learn more about groundwater and monitor uses of groundwater for your home and community.

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