Groundwater: It’s Groundwater Awareness Week!

Think About Groundwater

Taking place March 10-16, #GWAW is an annual observance established to highlight the responsible development, management, and use of groundwater. The event is also a platform to encourage yearly water well testing and well maintenance. The Groundwater Association’s theme for 2019 is Think. It’s inspired us to think about groundwater and share that information with our readers.


Did you know approximately 132 million Americans rely on groundwater for drinking water? It is used for irrigation, livestock, manufacturing, mining, thermoelectric power, and several additional purposes, making it one of the most widely used and valuable natural resources we have.

Consider the following facts:

  • Only 1% of the water on Earth is useable, 99% of which is groundwater.
  • The United States uses 349 billion gallons of freshwater every day.
  • Groundwater is 20 to 30 times larger than all U.S. lakes, streams, and rivers combined.
  • Groundwater accounts for 33% of all the water used by U.S. municipalities.
  • 44% of the U.S. population depends on groundwater for its drinking water supply.
  • More than 13.2 million households have their own well, representing 34 million people.
  • 53.5 billion gallons of groundwater are used for agricultural irrigation each day. In 1990 that number was 2.2 billion.
  • The largest U.S. aquifer is the Ogallala, underlying 250,000 square miles stretching from Texas to South Dakota.  Scientists estimate it could take 6000 years to naturally refill the aquifer if it were ever fully depleted.
  • California pumps 10.7 billion gallons of groundwater each day, a third more than the second-highest state, Texas.
  • Groundwater is the world’s most extracted raw material with withdrawal rates in the estimated range of 259 trillion gallons per year.

Biggest groundwater myths:

  • It’s removed from the Earth is never returned.
  • It is not a significant source of water supply.
  • It is abundantly available, therefore does not need to be conserved.
  • There is no relationship between groundwater and surface water.
  • It migrates thousands of miles.

In the weeks leading up to #GWAW, NGWA encourages everyone to become official “protectors” by taking steps to conserve and protect the resource. Businesses, individuals, educators, students, federal agencies, cities, associations, and everyone in between can ask to be added to NGWA’s protector list through its website or on social media. Have an awesome story to tell? Send it to NGWA and they might highlight your efforts.

More ways you can play a part in ground water awareness:

  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth
  • Fill a sink to wash dishes instead of leaving the water running
  • Test your water
  • Maintain and treat private wells

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Protect this valuable resource.

Think about not running the water while you brush your teeth. Or Think about getting that leaking faucet fixed. Think about the farmers that rely on groundwater to grow the food we eat. And Think about having your well inspected to protect your drinking water system. In short, during #GWAW Think about our future.

For more information about ground water awareness, please visit!

The National Ground Water Association is a not-for-profit professional society and trade association for the global groundwater industry. Our members around the world include leading public and private sector groundwater scientists, engineers, water well system professionals, manufacturers, and suppliers of groundwater-related products and services. The Association’s vision is to be the leading groundwater association advocating for responsible development, management, and use of water.

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