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Groundwater along with oxygen is arguably the most important natural resource for human life, and National Groundwater Awareness Week, March 8-14, is a good time to learn how to become a good steward of it, the National Ground Water Association said today.
Ninety-nine percent of all available freshwater in the world is groundwater, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That means all the world’s rivers, lakes, and streams make up only one percent.
“Life as we know it would quite simply not be possible without groundwater. It provides drinking water to about 132 million Americans, supplies surface freshwater bodies, waters crops, and supports ecosystems,” said NGWA Public Awareness Director Cliff Treyens.
“The same is true throughout the world. That is why it is so important that every person do something to be a good steward of this vital resource — and there are some very practical things every person can do,” Treyens said.
Consider the following:
- 87 million Americans are on community water systems that use groundwater.
- 44.5 million Americans supply their own water through water wells.
- As much as 90 percent of the rural population would have no reliable water source if it weren’t for private household water wells.
- Irrigation uses an estimated 53.5 billion gallons of groundwater a day — supplying water to some of the most productive agricultural lands in the world.
- Livestock and aquaculture use an additional 3.5 billion gallons of groundwater a day.
NGWA encourages every person to protect and conserve groundwater in the following ways:
- Dispose of hazardous substances at appropriate disposal facilities.
- Don’t pour hazardous substances down the drain or toilet, or on the ground.
- Properly store hazardous substances in secure containers.
- Don’t pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it.
- Repair dripping faucets and toilets; one drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons or 10,221 liters per year.
- Use water-efficient appliances.
- Use native or drought-resistant plants outdoors.
To learn more, visit NGWA’s “groundwater stewardship — protection and conservation” page. Also visit NGWA’s website for household water well owners, WellOwner.org.