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National Groundwater Awareness Week

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The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) and The Groundwater Foundation have announced that Groundwater Awareness Week (GWAW) will take place March 6-12.

An annual observance established in 1999 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, and the promotion of policies impacting groundwater quality and supply. Groundwater advocates across the country also use GWAW to highlight local water issues in their communities.

This year, NGWA and its partners will be focusing their advocacy on promoting professional opportunities in the groundwater industry.  According to the American Geoscience Institute, nationally there are more than 135,000 open positions in the industry now, which is far too high to keep up with consumer demand.

Because over 44% of the population depends on groundwater as a primary water source, developing an interest the groundwater industry is of vital importance to both the health and economy of the country. Groundwater professionals span a wide variety of careers and skills including well contractors, hydrogeologist, groundwater policy advocates, and suppliers and manufacturers of groundwater technology. 

Recently, in an effort to respond to this shortfall of groundwater professionals, NGWA has partnered with Oklahoma State University to develop new tools to attract more people into the industry.

Launching last year, Drilling Basics Online is a first of its kind online platform for individuals to pursue a comprehensive education in groundwater drilling and geoscience with a focus on the competencies tested for on groundwater drilling exams.

The courses offered through Drilling Basics online are, Drilling Safety, Geology & Groundwater, Hydrogeology & Fluid Mechanics, Rig Type & Well Design, Drill Rig Safety, and General Workplace Safety. The program will continue to be developed with new online offerings while adding classroom and field courses.

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GWAW also serves as an annual reminder for water well owners to test, tend, and treat their private water systems.  NGWA encourages annual inspections of private water systems by certified water well contractors to ensure systems are operating correctly and producing safe and healthy water.

WellOwner.org, which is operated by NGWA with assistance from the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, offers private well owners tip sheets on water well maintenance and a “Find A Contractor” page which allows the public to find certified local water well contractors in their area.

Facts about groundwater 

  • The Oglalla Aquifer stretches more than 450,000 square kilometers (174,000 square miles) through parts of the U.S. states of South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, according to National Geographic. The Oglalla Aquifer holds more than 3,000 cubic kilometers (2.4 billion acre-feet) of groundwater.
  • The average household's leaks can account for nearly 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Of the estimated 29 billion gallons of water used daily by households in the US, nearly 9 billion gallons, or 30 percent, is devoted to outdoor water use, according to EPA’s WaterSense program. In the hot summer months, or in dry climates, a household's outdoor water use can be as high as 70 percent.
  • The United States uses 82.3 billion gallons per day of fresh groundwater for public supply, private supply, irrigation, livestock, manufacturing, mining, thermoelectric power, and other purposes, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

 

Learn more about your state

Want to know more about your state's groundwater usage? Click here.

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Tips for practicing Groundwater Awareness Week in your home, courtesy of WellOwner.org

  • Why Is a Checkup Important? A properly constructed and maintained household-supply well will provide you with many years of quality service. Routine inspection of a water well system can help ensure it is operating properly, prolong its useful life, and protect your investment. Most importantly, inspections can protect your health by discovering issues that could result in water quality problems presenting a health risk.
  • Keep hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides, and motor oil far away from your well, and maintain a “clean” zone of at least 50 feet (15.24 meters) between your well and any kennels or livestock operations. Also, always maintain proper separation between your well and buildings, waste systems, or chemical storage areas. Your professional water well contractor is familiar with the applicable local codes.
  • Get your water tested anytime there is a change in taste, odor or appearance, or anytime the system is serviced.

 

bullhorn  10 Ways to Protect and Conserve Groundwater

  1. Go Native

    Use native plants in your landscape. They look great, and don't need much water or fertilizer. Also choose grass varieties for your lawn that are adapted for your region's climate, reducing the need for extensive watering or chemical applications.

  2. Reduce Chemical Use

    Use fewer chemicals around your home and yard, and make sure to dispose of them properly - don't dump them on the ground!

  3. Manage Waste

    Properly dispose of potentially toxic substances like unused chemicals, pharmaceuticals, paint, motor oil, and other substances. Many communities hold household hazardous waste collections or sites - contact your local health department to find one near you.

  4. Don't Let It Run

    Shut off the water when you brush your teeth or shaving, and don't let it run while waiting for it to get cold. Keep a pitcher of cold water in the fridge instead.

  5. Fix the Drip

    Check all the faucets, fixtures, toilets, and taps in your home for leaks and fix them right away, or install water conserving models.

  6. Wash Smarter

    Limit yourself to just a five minute shower, and challenge your family members to do the same! Also, make sure to only run full loads in the dish and clothes washer.

  7. Water Wisely

    Water the lawn and plants during the coolest parts of the day and only when they truly need it. Make sure you, your family, and your neighbors obey any watering restrictions during dry periods.

  8. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

    Reduce the amount of "stuff" you use and reuse what you can. Recycle paper, plastic, cardboard, glass, aluminum and other materials.

  9. Natural Alternatives

    Use all natural/nontoxic household cleaners whenever possible. Materials such as lemon juice, baking soda, and vinegar make great cleaning products, are inexpensive, and environmentally-friendly.

  10. Learn and Do More!

    Get involved in water education! Learn more about groundwater and share your knowledge with others.

 

Awesome Aquifer Kit

You can help inspire the next generation of groundwater professionals with an Awesome Aquifer kit.


Groundwater professionals encompass many different occupations within the industry, including well water drillers, hydrogeologists, engineers, groundwater scientists, and educators.

The Awesome Aquifer Kit is a fun and educational groundwater kit with everything you need to build an aquifer model. Instructions and activity supplies are included to walk you through learning all about groundwater. 

The kit is great for use in classrooms, at community events, at festivals or fairs, or any other educational setting. Both youth and adults love the hands-on nature of the activities!

Get yours at: awesomeaquifer.com

Learn more about the Groundwater Foundation's educational resources at: https://www.groundwater.org/kids

The Groundwater Foundation
The Groundwater Foundation connects people, businesses & communities through local groundwater education & action, making us all part of the solution for clean, sustainable groundwater.
National Ground Water Association
The National Ground Water Association is the hallmark organization for anyone affiliated with the groundwater industry. Learn more about NGWA membership
Wellowner.org
Wellowner.org is your one-stop resource for information relating to private water well systems and groundwater. The Find a Contractor Tool will also assist you in finding an NGWA member or NGWA-certified water well contractor in your area.

WellOwner.org is supported by the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP.org), as part of the USEPA funded program “Improving Water Quality through Training and Technical Assistance to Private Well Owners.”