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.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) will launch its first annual Protect Your Groundwater Day on September 14, 2010. This day will focus on preventing contamination and water conservation as ways to protect groundwater resources.

To be able to prevent contamination you need to be aware of common contamination sources in your household such as cleaning products, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, etc. and learn how to dispose of them properly. Proactive protection efforts are much more cost-effective than clean-up efforts. Here is what you can do:

Dispose of potential pollutants properly:
• Do not pour chemicals down the drain or on the ground, take to hazardous waste collection
• Take used motor oil to a recycling center
• Do not flush medications or personal care items down the toilet, mix with   coffee grounds and put in trash

To be a responsible water steward, here are a few simple things you can do every day:

• Check for leaky faucets and have them fixed
• Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator
• Shut off the water while brushing your teeth
• Take shorter showers
• Run full load of dishes and laundry
• Water lawn and plants only as needed
• Install rain barrels

Make September 14, 2010 a day to remember—the day you took charge of protecting and conserving our precious resource—groundwater!

What will you do to protect and conserve groundwater today and every day?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Rain Barrels - One Solution to Decrease Storm Water Runoff

The dog days of summer are definitely upon us and as such I find myself out in the yard watering flowers nearly every day. And I really wish I would have invested in a rain barrel this spring as I had planned. Rain barrels collect the rain water that falls on your home’s roof and stores it for use at a later time. Can you believe that most homeowners can save about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months? Of course, not only could I be saving money by having a rain barrel, but it would be much more convenient since I have a downspout just a few feet from the flowerbed.

And, along with the money savings and convenience, I would be doing my part to help protect the environment. Not only do rain barrels reuse water thereby conserving it, they also divert storm water from storm sewers, lakes, and streams which will prevent any potential pollutants the water may have picked up from making its way to these water bodies.

It really is clear that I need to stop procrastinating and just get a rain barrel now. You can find many options for purchasing your rain barrel on the internet and for those of you in Lincoln, Nebraska I just learned that HyVee and Coca-Cola have partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Lancaster County and have rain barrels available at local HyVee stores.

Make a difference today! Why wait? Let us know what you do to help protect water resources.