An annual observance established to highlight the responsible development, management and use of ground water, the event is also a platform to encourage yearly water well testing and well maintenance to prevent waterborne illnesses, the National Ground Water Association said in a news release.
Established in 1999, educational week provides an opportunity for people to learn about the importance of the resource and how it impacts lives. “Approximately 132 million Americans rely on ground water for drinking water, so, simply put, it makes life possible,” said Aaron Martin, NGWA’s public relations and awareness manager. “Additionally, ground water 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.”
From manmade contaminants such as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) and naturally occurring ones such as arsenic affecting its quality to potential depletion of the resource in India, South Africa, Australia, and the American West, ground water was an important topic in 2017. NGWA expects much of this narrative to continue throughout 2018, emphasizing the need for increased awareness regarding one this critical natural resource.
To mark National Groundwater Awareness Week, the association shared a few key facts:
- Americans use 79.6 billion gallons of ground water each day.
- Ground water is 20 to 30 times larger than all U.S. lakes, streams, and rivers combined.
- Forty-four per cent of the U.S. population depends on ground water for its drinking water supply.
- More than 13.2 million households have their own well, representing 34 million people.
This year’s theme is “Tend. Test. Treat.” Testing your water might prompt well inspection and maintenance, and water treatment can mitigate naturally occurring contamination revealed by the test, NGWA said. “So, test your water, tend to your well system, then treat the water if necessary.”
NGWA encourages every person to be a ground water advocate during National Groundwater Awareness Week and beyond by protecting and conserving ground water. A social media toolkit, facts about ground water, event FAQs, logos, graphics and videos may be downloaded from GroundwaterAwarenessWeek.com or WellOwner.org.
The association also has created a social media hashtag – #GWAW2018 – to be used to help spread awareness.