Sunday, March 11, 2018

BLOG: What will YOU do during Groundwater Awareness Week?

by Jennifer Wemhoff, The Groundwater Foundation

Happy Groundwater Awareness Week! (#GWAW2018)!

Every March, we work with our friends at National Ground Water Association to help promote National Groundwater Awareness Week. It's a win-win for everyone - it's an opportunity to bring a national and local focus to groundwater and help people find ways to learn more about it and protect this vital resource.

So what can YOU do during #GWAW2018?

The possibilities are endless, but here are some great ideas to get you started:

  • Follow The Groundwater Foundation (Facebook, Twitter) and National Groundwater Association (Facebook, Twitter) on social media; like, share, and retweet #GWAW2018 posts, or customize posts with local information.
  • Plan a Test Your Well event for local private well owners. It's a win-win - you get to raise awareness about groundwater, and well owners get their water sample tested and learn more about it. 
  • Set up a presentation for a community club/group to talk about local groundwater resources.
  • Offer to present to a Girl Scout/Boy Scout troop, 4-H club, FFA chapter, science or environmental club, or other youth group to get them excited about groundwater. Hands-on activities are fun, brains-on ways to get kids involved.
  • Conserve water inside and outside your home by taking short showers instead of baths, running full loads of dishes and laundry, checking for and repairing leaky faucets and fixtures, watering outdoors only when necessary, and using native plants in your landscaping that require less water.
  • Track your daily water use to identify where you can use less. Try the free 30by30 app and start tracking today.
  • Always follow label instructions for household chemicals, and look for ways to decrease or eliminate fertilizer and pesticide usage.
  • Dispose of chemicals properly by taking them to recycling centers or household hazardous waste collections.
  • If you have a private well on your property, have the well inspected by a licensed water well contractor and the water tested once a year for coliform bacteria, nitrates, and any other contaminants of local concern.
  • Find out about your community’s drinking water source and mobilize to protect it. The Groundwater Guardian program is a good place to get started. 
  • Teach others about ways to protect and preserve groundwater!
To find out more about groundwater and how you can get involved in protecting it, please visit us at

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {Wellhead Protection: Why is it important?}

This is Part 5 in Frannie's exploration of Wellhead Protection.   Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 to learn about what it is, who protects the wellheads, and why it's important.

So far we’ve learned about the steps it takes to create a Wellhead Protection Plan, what some potential contaminant sources are, and a couple ways to educate water professionals and the public.  But how did the idea of Wellhead Protection come about and why is it really important?

Way back in 1974, the Safe Water Drinking Act (SDWA) was signed into law to protect public health by making sure that local public water systems followed federal drinking water standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  This meant that the local water systems were responsible for making sure their customers were provided with clean, safe water.

Local water systems quickly realized that it’s much easier and less expensive to provide their customers with clean water if the system receives clean groundwater from the very beginning. Clean water means fewer treatments and tests which means less money that the water system has to spend on making sure that their water complies with federal standards.  Being proactive about water safety became, and still is, an important part of wellhead protection.

In 1986, the SDWA was amended to require states to develop Wellhead Protection Programs.  States became responsible for helping communities form local boots-on-the-ground teams who protect public supply wells, determining the land area that affects drinking water sources, identifying and managing potential contaminant sources, and developing contingency plans for future water supply needs should the existing supply become contaminated or depleted.

Today, many communities are still using the program to create Wellhead Protection Plans.  Some states use Source Water Assessment Programs to update plans that were developed in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Keeping our water clean now is making it easier and less expensive to have clean water in the future.

Monday, March 5, 2018


by Terry Morse, CEO, National Groundwater Association

Next week, the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) will once again celebrate National Groundwater Awareness Week (#GWAW2018). An annual observance established to highlight the responsible development, management, and use of groundwater, the event is also a platform to encourage yearly water well testing and well maintenance to prevent waterborne illnesses.

From manmade contaminants such as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) and naturally occurring ones like arsenic affecting its quality to potential depletion of the resource in India, South Africa, Australia, and the American West, groundwater 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.
Consider the following:

  • Americans use 79.6 billion gallons of groundwater each day.
  • Groundwater is 20 to 30 times larger than all U.S. lakes, streams, and rivers combined.
  • 44 percent of the U.S. population depends on groundwater for its drinking water supply.
  • More than 13.2 million households have their own well, representing 34 million people

Established in 1999, #GWAW2018 provides an opportunity for everyone to learn about the importance of the resource and how it impacts lives. During the event, NGWA encourages folks to ask, “what do you know about groundwater?” Prior to joining NGWA, the only thing I knew about water was when you turn on the tap, water fills your cup. But I now understand that’s not the case for millions of folks around the world, and even for many people in the American West who are dealing with drought conditions and overuse, a situation which recently led Cape Town, South Africa, to implement a 6.6 gallon daily water-use limit per person.      

Here in the States 132 million people rely on groundwater for drinking water, so, simply put, it makes life possible. Groundwater 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. During #GWAW2018 we’re asking folks to think about how they’re using groundwater, and to share their stories on the ways they’re reducing their groundwater footprint.  So, if you decide to take an 8-minute shower as opposed to a 10-minute shower every day during the week, share it!  You never know, there could be a prize for the most creative and impactful submission!

If you’re a private well owner, the 2018 #GWAW2018 theme of “Tend. Test. Treat.” was established to encourage a more holistic approach to sustain an adequate supply of quality groundwater. Testing your water might prompt well inspection and maintenance, and water treatment can mitigate naturally occurring contamination revealed by the test. So, test your water, tend to your well system, then treat the water if necessary.

NGWA encourages every person to be a “groundwater advocate” both during #GWAW2018 and beyond by protecting and conserving groundwater. Businesses, individuals, educators, students, federal agencies, cities, associations, and everyone in between can share their story through our website or on social media. Find downloadable information on #GWAW2018 at, including: