National Groundwater Awareness Week is from March 10 to 16 this year, and we are elated at the opportunity to learn more and take the opportunity to make our groundwater safe. Do you know that groundwater is the most accessed source of freshwater in the world? Yes, and it also accounts for half of the world’s population’s drinking water.
History of National Groundwater Awareness Week
Water is one of the world’s most vital resources which supports life. Animals, plants, humans, the whole ecosystem, and the earth depend on water for their continued existence. As humans, we use water every day for myriad day-to-day activities like cooking, drinking, bathing, farming, and more.
Water covers 71% of the earth’s surface in contrast to the bare ground surface upon which we all step and build our houses and structures. One might have thought that this would make water readily available for consumption, but 97% of that water is ocean water — salty and undrinkable, with only 3% water fresh and suitable for drinking, the top of which is groundwater.
Groundwater is water situated deep under the ground in aquifers, a body of rock that holds water. It is what most times constitutes well water when we dig deep into the earth to source water, and it is the largest available fresh water on the earth. As far back as 9,000 years ago, man began the search for freshwater, digging the earth with their hands and crude tools for water below the earth.
Over the years, sophisticated methods have risen, leading to wells, boreholes, and other water exploitation sources, solving this problem of freshwater for man’s sustenance. People in countries all over the world make use of groundwater, and in the U.S., groundwater is the most commonly engaged source for public water supplies.
National Groundwater Awareness Week is a time of the year set aside to advocate for the cleanliness and safety of groundwater, especially for private water well owners to test, tend, and treat their water systems. This reminds us not to take water for granted, as the import of groundwater into our current existence can’t be belittled.
National Groundwater Awareness Week timeline
Man begins the search for freshwater 9,000 years back, digging water wells with their hands, as seen in the history of Israel, China, and India.
Invented by the Ruffner Brothers, mechanical drilling is introduced in the U.S. to bore wells, and it spreads all over America in record time.
Sir Howard Hughes invents the roller cone drill bit, which is still in use for many types of drilling today.
The non-profit group, National Groundwater Association, establishes the event to sensitize and advocate for the cleanliness and safety of well waters.
National Groundwater Awareness Week FAQs
Why is groundwater so important?
This is because it provides the largest source of freshwater for man. The largest percentage of water on earth is ocean water which is practically undrinkable because of its saltiness.
Is there an alternative to groundwater?
Yes. The major alternative is rainwater, but since it doesn’t rain all year round, the easy availability of groundwater makes it a better option.
What problems can arise with groundwater?
Several problems can arise with groundwater, including drying of wells, contamination of the water, waterlogging and salinity, saltwater encroachment, and more.
How to Observe National Groundwater Awareness Week
Schedule a check-up for your well water
The idea behind this awareness week is to advocate the safety of well water. As a private well water owner, schedule a professional to come to test your water, and in the case of any problems within the water, treat it.
Protect your wells from harmful substances
This is another time to be security conscious about your private wells. Make sure its environment is free of every chemical and harmful substance that can find itself inside the wells and contaminate the water.
Sensitize others about groundwater
Many people know nothing about groundwater and its importance, which can be surprising. As someone who has a great amount of knowledge, especially from reading this post, share your knowledge with others and explain why we must keep groundwater safe.
5 Important Facts About Groundwater
Amount of groundwater available
It is estimated that there are about 2.8 trillion gallons of groundwater, making up 30.1% of the world’s freshwater.
Cleanliness of groundwater
More often than not, groundwater is clean and ready to drink because the soil filters the water, holding chemicals, living organisms, and minerals, and allowing only water through to the aquifers.
A major addition to surface water
Hydrologists estimate that groundwater contributes about 40% to 50% of the water that flows into streams, lakes, and rivers.
Dependence on groundwater
About half the world's populations depend on groundwater for drinking, with the U.S., having it provide for 44% of their drinking water supply.
The largest aquifer in the world
The Great Artesian Basin in Australia is the largest and deepest aquifer holding groundwater, underlying 22% of the continent.
Why National Groundwater Awareness Week is Important
Water is life
Water is very important to the existence of life. Be it humans, animals, or the earth itself; we can’t do without water. This makes the National Groundwater Awareness Week unique and necessary.
It’s a time of sensitization and advocacy
This event is important to help in fighting against debilitating waterborne diseases that can be born in private water wells because of negligence. The yearly check-up would help to detect and prevent germs and bacteria that can be very harmful to the safety of our homes and family.
It’s protection for the future
Because freshwater is readily available in our societies, we are always quick to forget its importance and why we must guard and protect it. This event reminds us once more of the need to protect groundwater, especially for the future.
National Groundwater Awareness Week dates