The condition of groundwater is, of course, a significant concern for the planet’s inhabitants. Currently, it is estimated that there are 2.78 million trillion gallons of groundwater, which comprises 30.1% of the freshwater that is available. Increasing access to this groundwater is recommended because it is considered to be an underutilized source of water.
In the United States, approximately 1/4 of the rainfall that occurs becomes groundwater, which feeds and aids the flow of streams. It is important to note that these lakes and streams provide a “window” to the water table as well as the condition of the water itself.
On a daily basis, 349 billion gallons of freshwater is withdrawn from the United States’ supply. Current estimates show that there are 76.5 billion gallons of groundwater present, however.
Water Quality Issues
Water pollution has been a concern for decades, and there is an ongoing need for monitoring and addressing this issue. Recent water quality reports show the following levels of pollution for various bodies of water:
- Streams: 45%
- Lakes: 47%
- Bays: 32%
- Beaches: 25%
One of the most common sources for this pollution is pesticides. Given that over 2.2 billion pounds of pesticides are used every year in the United States, these substances wash into rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water.
When groundwater quality has been tested, 73 different types of pesticides have been identified. Unless this water is sufficiently filtered, these pesticides contaminate the country’s drinking water supply. Furthermore, these levels of pollution are adversely affecting agriculture and local wildlife.
Another common cause of pollution comes from nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous. These substances have been steadily degrading over 2/3 of the estuaries and bays throughout the United States.
Groundwater Usage and Access
Groundwater is currently being underutilized. Roughly 90% of this country’s freshwater exists underground, and less than 27% of the water actually used comes from underground sources. In order to increase access to this underground source of water, more residential wells could be constructed.
The National Groundwater Association (NGWA) estimates that there are 500,000 new residential wells being constructed on a yearly basis. In order to construct these wells, over 18,460 drilling machines are used to provide access to underground sources of water.
An environmental consulting firm should be contacted to determine where to drill a well. One of the important tasks an environmental consulting firm engages in is groundwater modeling. These models are used by hydrogeologists in order to simulate the aquifer’s condition, which may potentially contain or have the ability to transmit groundwater.
In addition to groundwater modeling, an environmental consulting firm will engage in water quality monitoring. This includes determining the quality of existing surface water.