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Groundwater Awareness Week, March 6-12, 2011

USGS CoreCast: Groundwater Awareness Week, March 6-12, 2011

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Marcia McNutt, USGS Director

Marcia McNutt, USGS Director

March 6-12 is National Groundwater Awareness Week. It is important to recognize that groundwater is a vital natural resources; we should NEVER take for granted the water we drink and use on a daily basis, regardless of its source. We depend on an adequate supply of good quality groundwater for about half of our drinking water needs. We also depend on this resource to provide much of the irrigation water that helps put food on our tables. Everyone has a vested interest in groundwater.

The USGS studies the quantity and quality of the nation’s groundwater. Regional groundwater studies for the High Plains aquifer, the Denver Basin, the Lake Michigan Basin, the North Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer, and others around the country give states and managers a starting point for understanding how much water is available now and in the future for agriculture, drinking and other uses.

USGS research on groundwater quality also protects citizens from groundwater contamination. For example, USGS research and information on arsenic in groundwater recently led New England States and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to recommend testing for arsenic in all private wells in the region. In Florida, USGS scientists are studying saltwater intrusion in the Floridan aquifer, which is the primary drinking water source for over 10 million people. This research is key to ensuring that we as a Nation have the information necessary to make decisions about protecting, preserving and understanding this precious resource.


Groundwater discharge from the Snake River Plain aquifer in the Thousand Springs area, Idaho.

As the primary federal science agency for water resource information, the USGS is proud to work closely with the National Ground Water Association. This past year, we have been collaborating with the Association on a pilot program to test the concept of a National Groundwater Monitoring Network. We applaud the Association’s efforts to inform the public about groundwater and to generate appreciation for this precious resource by designating a week to promote groundwater awareness.

I encourage you to take a moment to learn more about America’s groundwater resources by visiting the USGS groundwater information website or the homepage for the National Ground Water Association’s groundwater awareness week.

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