March 5 – 11 is National Groundwater Awareness Week, and regardless of whether or not you are a well owner, groundwater is an important resource for everyone.
Below is some useful information that might help to make sure everyone can do their part to keep this precious resource protected.
- What is groundwater?
- Groundwater is underground water that fills voids, cracks, and other openings in soil and sand to form what are known as aquifers. The major aquifer in our area is the Trinity Aquifer.
- Fact: Americans use 79.3 billion gallons of groundwater a day.*
- Why is groundwater important?
- Not only do many people in rural areas depend on private water wells as their sole source of water, but many public water providers also utilize groundwater if surface water is not available.
- Fact: 1 out of 9 people across the world don’t have access to clean water and over 840,000 people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene related illnesses. This means groundwater is more important than ever.*
- How much groundwater is there?
- About 99% of the available freshwater on Earth is groundwater. *
- Fact: Groundwater feeds nearly 500 billion gallons of water into U.S. lakes and streams daily.*
How the public can help protect and conserve groundwater:
- For private well owners, it is a good practice to have water from the well tested on a regular basis, perhaps annually. Also if there is ever a change in the odor, taste, or smell of the water from a well, then it is a good idea to have it tested.
- Follow the directions and use only the recommended amounts when applying items such as pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.
- Dispose of any hazardous substances properly. Pouring them down the drain, dumping them on the ground, or flushing them down the toilet could potentially lead to localized sources of contamination. Contact your local waste authorities regarding the proper disposal of hazardous substances such as pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer, paint/paint thinner, oil, antifreeze, and other chemicals.
- Use native Texas plants for landscaping. Once native plants are established, they rarely need extra water to survive since they are adapted to the Texas climate and under normal conditions can survive on rainfall alone.
- Catch and use rainwater. Using rainwater to water plants instead of clean drinking water is preferable both for the plants and for conserving potable water for what we really need it for.
- Be mindful of water use around the house. For example, on average, a shower uses about 2 gallons of water per minute. So a 30 minute shower could require about 60 gallons of water whereas a 5 minute shower will only use about 10 gallons of water.
Being good stewards of the natural resources such as groundwater will help to ensure that future generations have the same access to fresh groundwater that we enjoy today.
Check out uppertrinitygcd.com for more information about groundwater in your area and what you can do to conserve groundwater.
*Facts in this article provided by the National Groundwater Association.