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Everything You Wanted to Know About Groundwater (and How to Find It)

Summary: Here’s what you need to know before drilling a groundwater well.

Groundwater is the water that lives just below the surface of the Earth, in spaces between rock formations, and in the soil, sand and rocks that make up the ground in most areas. Unlike surface water, which tends to live in large, uninterrupted bodies such as lakes, rivers and streams, most groundwater exists in small pockets which may not be usable on their own, but when combined together, account for a great deal of our water supply. The notable exceptions are springs and aquifers, which are large openings that accommodate quantities of groundwater.

Though groundwater isn’t very visible, it’s very useful. Groundwater wells are a great water source for homes not connected to municipal water supply. Before digging your groundwater well, here are a few basic facts you should know.

Groundwater and Surface Water are not Mutually Exclusive

Much of the water you see in surface bodies of water, like lakes, rivers and streams, actually comes from groundwater. As rainwater seeps into the rocks and soils and becomes part of the groundwater supply, it continues to move, and will often reach the bed of bodies of surface water, and may get mixed into the flow. It’s important to remember that the relationship between the two exists, as whatever happens to surface water can affect groundwater and vice versa. Maintaining a clean, healthy, unpolluted water supply means exercising caution with both types of water, as eventually, both will likely end up in your drinking water.

Groundwater is an Abundant Resource, but Takes Time to Replenish

Good news if you’re planning on drilling a groundwater well—groundwater makes up the bulk of the water supply in most places. In fact, the volume of surface water in the United States is completely dwarfed by the volume of water that exists just under the surface.

However, groundwater supplies also take longer to replenish. While surface water supplies like lakes and rivers are easily replenished during a major rainfall, catching every drop that comes toward them, water has a longer journey to get the groundwater level. It’s important to consider the sustainability of groundwater in any given location before drilling a well, to ensure it will supply you for years to come.

Finding Groundwater for Your Well

Groundwater wells are built by drilling deep enough into the ground to access an aquifer, a porous rock formation or fracture where an abundance of groundwater has pooled, providing a sustainable source of well water. If a well is not drilled deeply enough, or if the aquifer is too small, it will take too long to replenish, and it won’t be long before the well is dry and a new one must be drilled.

To avoid drilling an unsustainable groundwater well, be sure to connect with American Water Surveyors to assess your land before drilling, and leave the drilling to trusted experts. Having reputable professionals handle every aspect of your well, from determining the location, to drilling and testing the water supply, will ensure your groundwater well keeps providing for years to come.

February 1, 2018 at 1:28 pm
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