Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, Chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee supports National Ground Water Awareness Week.
If you own a household water well, you depend on groundwater. If you don’t have a water well, you still depend on groundwater in many ways. Either way, here are some things you should know about groundwater during National Ground Water Awareness Week, March 6-12.
Groundwater makes up more than 90 percent of the available fresh water in the world. Because it is so widespread, nearly 45 percent of Americans rely on ground water, either from private wells or community water systems. Not only that, ground water supplies 53.5 billion gallons a day for agricultural irrigation. It also feeds 492 billion gallons a day to surface water bodies such as rivers, lakes and streams.
“The occasion of National Ground Water Awareness Week provides the perfect time for all of us to consider the ways in which we use water and contemplate how we might help conserve it,” said Simpson. “The National Ground Water Association has long been a tireless advocate for fresh water resources and I greatly appreciate the work they do. Their list of “best practices” is something everyone should read and utilize in their daily lives.”
If you own a well, consider getting an annual well maintenance check and water test. Private well owners are responsible for making sure their water supply is safe, so regular maintenance and water testing for bacteria, nitrates and anything else of local concern are important.
If you don’t own a well, you still have a responsibility to protect groundwater. Improper storage or disposal of hazardous household substances can pollute groundwater. These include household cleaners, herbicides, pesticides, antifreeze, fertilizer, paint, paint thinner, oil and other chemicals. What you dump on the ground, pour down the drain or throw in the trash could end up in the groundwater. Store hazardous household substances in secure places using proper containers. If possible, dispose of such substances at hazardous waste drop-off sites.
Use water wisely, whether you own a well or not. There is no shortage of groundwater nationally, but demand on a local or regional basis can create water scarcity. It only makes sense not to waste water.
- Fix leaky toilets or faucets to save thousands of gallons of water a year.
- Use water-efficient appliances.
- Use low-flow shower heads and water-efficient toilets.
- Avoid wasting water on the driveway, sidewalk or street when watering outside.
- Run the dishwasher only when it’s full.
- Consider other ways to recycle or conserve water.
Learn more visit NGWA’s Ground Water Awareness Week Web page or its Web site for well owners, www.wellowner.org.