Monday, August 23, 2010

ABCs of Groundwater

by Jamie Oltman, The Groundwater Foundation

This past week was the first day of school for many students. All the discussion of the first day and week of classes inspired me to make my own back to school list. Here is my ABC’s of Groundwater:

A – Aquifer…Stores our groundwater resources.

B – Best Management Practices…Used to reduce and prevent water contamination.

C – Conservation…Water-saving methods to reduce the amount of water needed for homes, lawns, farming, and industry, and thus increasing water supplies for optimum long-term economic and social benefits.

D – Drinking Water…51% of the people in the United States rely on groundwater as their drinking water source.

E – Education…"We will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught." Bab Dioum

F – Fresh water…Less than one percent of the world’s fresh water is available for human use. The majority of this is stored as groundwater.

G – Green Site…A green space where practices are implemented to reduce and prevent groundwater contamination. See what sites have been recognized at

H – Hydrogeology…The study of geologic materials and the processes of water, especially groundwater.

I – Irrigate…wisely. Make sure to water your lawn in the coolest part of the day and only as needed.

J – Jug of water…Keep one in the fridge for a refreshing cool drink.

K – Kids…are an important reason to make sure we have a clean and plentiful supply of groundwater.

L – Leaders…Talk with your local leaders about water related policy and action in your community.

M – Municipal Water Supply…Provides water to the public (homes, school, churches, businesses, etc.).

N – Nonpoint source…Pollution discharged over a wide land area, not from one specific location.

O – Off…Turn off the water when brushing your teeth to reduce the amount of water used.

P – People…"It is because of people we protect groundwater, but it is only through people that we can do so."

Q – Questions…about groundwater? Check out some fun activities to help you learn more at

R – Recharge…Water added to an aquifer.  The opposite, an outflow of water, is called discharge.

S – Source water…Water from streams, rivers, lakes, or aquifers that is used to provide drinking water for human consumption.

T – Toolkit…Let’s keep it clean! Check out the community toolkit at 

U – Under the direct influence (UDI)…of surface water, is groundwater located close enough to a river or lake to receive direct surface water recharge.

V – Vadose zone…or the unsaturated zone is the area directly below the surface where air and water fill the pore spaces.

W – Well…Drinking water from a private well should be tested on an annual basis to make sure it’s healthy for consumption. Check out the wellcare Well Owners Network at

X – Xeriscaping…Landscaping that uses a variety of indigenous and drought-tolerant plants, shrubs, and ground cover.

Y – You…can make a difference! Learn what you can do at

Z – Zzzzs…Following the ABC’s of groundwater and you will sleep well knowing groundwater supplies are clean and plentiful for future generations.

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