Friday, February 20, 2009

"For Love of Water"

By Jennifer Wemhoff, The Groundwater Foundation

I recently saw the documentary “FLOW” (For Love of Water). The film is an “award-winning documentary investigation into what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st Century - The World Water Crisis. Director Irena Salina builds a case against the growing privatization of the world's dwindling fresh water supply with an unflinching focus on politics, pollution, human rights, and the emergence of a domineering world water cartel. Interviews with scientists and activists intelligently reveal the rapidly building crisis, at both the global and human scale, and the film introduces many of the governmental and corporate culprits behind the water grab, while begging the question "CAN ANYONE REALLY OWN WATER?" (taken from

While the film does help viewers understand the fragility and finite nature of our world’s water resources, I would have liked more of a focus on the importance of protecting that resource, rather than pointing fingers at the “governmental and corporate culprits.” I imagine this is because The Groundwater Foundation advocates protection of water resources as paramount to ensure a safe supply for generations to come.

Parts of FLOW left me feeling downhearted and pessimistic about the future of water, while other parts made me grateful for the infrastructure that grants me access to clean water in my home. The film quotes Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” I think this message of individual and collective impact is empowering, and the part of the film that touched me the most were the stories of individuals and groups who have taken action and helped make access to drinking water a reality in many poor parts of the world.

The film concludes by discussing establishing access to clean water a fundamental human right with the United Nations (see for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). A petition is being circulated to add this as Article 31 to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to clean and accessible water, adequate for the health and well-being of the individual and family, and no one shall be deprived of such access or quality of water due to individual economic circumstance.” (

What do you think – Is access to water a fundamental human right? Can anyone really own the water? If you’ve seen FLOW, what were your reactions?

Friday, February 13, 2009

February 15th Deadline Nears, Are You Ready?

February 15th marks the re-entry Deadline for Continuing Groundwater Guardian Communities and Affiliates.

Renewing Groundwater Guardian Communities and Affiliates seeking designation for 2009 need to submit the following three forms by February 15:

1. Team List
2. Annual Entry Form
3. Result Oriented Activity/Service Plan(s)

All forms are available for free online at Note: New communities may enter the program at any time by completing the same three forms.

For more information on the Groundwater Guardian recognition program, visit

Friday, February 6, 2009

I Work for The Groundwater Foundation

I Work for The Groundwater Foundation
by Jamie Oltman, Program Manager

While in college I was often asked, “What’s your major?” I would respond “Environmental Studies.” Then I would proudly add, “I want to help save the world!”

Nine years later… The question has changed, from, “What’s your major?” to “What do you do?” Today my response is, “I work for The Groundwater Foundation.” Then I pause.

I pause to see if this person who has inquired about my work might know about The Groundwater Foundation or at least groundwater. Too often groundwater seems to be a foreign word in most vocabularies and I can imagine what they may be thinking… “An organization founded for the sake of ground…what?” I then explain, “We are a non-profit, environmental education organization.” This seems to bring some clarity to whoever asked the question.

When I Google searched “groundwater” I found two of the top three links, were pages from The Groundwater Foundation’s website! The first was a Wikipedia page on groundwater which list The Groundwater Foundation first on the External Links. The Groundwater Foundation also came up before the United State Geological Survey and The Environmental Protection Agency on the Google search. One would think based on the Google search and Wikipedia ranking, “I work for The Groundwater Foundation” should not cause quite the confusion it does. I don’t know how many people spend time Google searching “groundwater,” but if they did, I’m sure they would become more familiar with The Groundwater Foundation.

Most people are simply unfamiliar with the term groundwater. They don’t realize the role groundwater plays in our lives. Many people don’t realize the water they drink is most likely groundwater. They do not know that the majority of fresh water available for drinking is stored beneath our feet as groundwater. They have no idea that the food they eat was likely grown with groundwater. Regardless of how familiar we are with the term groundwater one thing is for certain we all depend on it. We may not realize where our water is coming from or how much of it we use but we all need to know we cannot live without it. To most it is just simply water. Whether it comes from the ground, stream, lake, or river it is the resource that we need to survive, the resource that connects us all.

“I work for The Groundwater Foundation. A nonprofit, environmental education organization.” I pause. I silently remind myself of that goal I use to so proudly proclaim, “I want to help save the world…I work for The Groundwater Foundation.”

“Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Is groundwater a term you use a lot? How much do you know about groundwater? Perform your own “groundwater” internet search and share your new knowledge and discoveries with me on our blog!
Remember if you search through Goodsearch,, and enter The Groundwater Foundation as the organization you wish to support each search will raise one cent for The Groundwater Foundation!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Google is out, GoodSearch is in.

Give to The Groundwater Foundation Just by Searching the Internet!

Here's a new easy way to raise money for The Groundwater Foundation – just start using Yahoo! powered as your search engine and they'll donate a penny to The Groundwater Foundation every time you do a search! In addition, do your shopping through their online shopping mall,, where you can shop at more than 900 top online retailers and a percentage of your purchases will go to The Groundwater Foundation. You pay the same price as you normally would, but a donation goes to help support The Groundwater Foundation!

GoodSearch for The Groundwater Foundation here: and GoodShop here: Be sure to enter The Groundwater Foundation as your charity of choice.

You can also read about GoodSearch in the NY Times, Oprah Magazine, CNN, ABC News and the Wall Street Journal at