National Groundwater Awareness Week starts Sunday, so we are celebrating it March 5-11 this year. This is a great week to learn about and understand the importance of groundwater.
The National Ground Water Association put together some interesting facts about groundwater use:
- In many nations, more than half of the groundwater withdrawn is for domestic water supplies and globally it provides 25% to 40% of the world's drinking water.
- About 60% of groundwater withdrawn worldwide is used for agriculture; the rest is almost equally divided between the domestic and industrial sectors.
- Globally, about 38% of irrigated lands are equipped for irrigation with groundwater.
- Groundwater is the world's most extracted raw material with withdrawal rates currently in the estimated range of 259 trillion gallons/year.
- The 79.3 billion gallons of groundwater a day used in the United States equals 1 billion, 586 million bathtubs full of water - enough to circle the Earth more than 60 times.
We all intersect with groundwater somehow, so it's our job to help protect and conserve it. Here are a lot of tips from the National Ground Water Association on how to do that:
- Properly store hazardous household substances in secure containers.
- Mix hazardous household substances over concrete or asphalt where they can be cleaned up or absorbed.
- Dispose of hazardous household wastes at an appropriate waste disposal facility or drop-off.
- Do not put hazardous household wastes down the drain or in the toilet.
- Do not put any wastes down a dry or abandoned well.
- If I own a septic system, I will service it according to local health department recommendations.
- If I own a water well, I will get a yearly maintenance check to ensure sanitary seals are intact.
- Decommission abandoned wells on your property using a qualified water well contractor.
- Fix or replace any leaking aboveground or underground tanks storing hazardous substances.
- Never 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 a year.
- Retrofit household faucets by installing aerators with flow restrictors.
- Choose appliances that are water- and/or energy-efficient, such as low-flow toilets.
- Don't run a faucet when I'm not using the water, such as while brushing my teeth.
- Only run the dishwasher when it is fully loaded.
- Operate clothes washers only when they are full, or set the water level to match the load size.
- Plant native and/or drought-resistant grasses, ground cover, shrubs, and trees.
- Use a shutoff nozzle on the hose for car washing that can be adjusted to a fine spray.
- Avoid overwatering my lawn; a heavy rain eliminates the need to water for up to two weeks.
- Raise the mower blade to a higher level to hold soil moisture and strengthen the root system.
Happy National Groundwater Awareness Week!