Does the United States Have Enough Water?

Nobody really knows.

The U.S. Geological Survey is gearing up to assess the availability and use of water resources, including groundwater. USGS is working to determine how much water we have now, how water availability is changing over time, and how much water will be available for America's future.

The week of March 9-13 has been designated as Groundwater Awareness Week by the National Ground Water Association.

By better understanding groundwater resources, U.S. leaders can help protect the quality and quantity of human and environmental fresh water needs in the future. To learn more about the USGS' plans for water availability assessment, visit http://water.usgs.gov/wsi/.

Groundwater flows slowly underground through pore spaces between sand, gravel, and cracks in rock, in underground formations called aquifers. These aquifers supply water that is used for agriculture, feeds lakes, and recharges streams and rivers.

More than 90 percent of all public drinking water systems rely on groundwater to supply the population with drinking water. Millions of Americans rely on groundwater from aquifers to supply their private wells.

People can protect this vital resource by

•Testing their wells every year.

•Protecting underground sources of drinking water.

•Learning about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's program to protect public health by preventing injection wells, particularly septic systems and shallow drainage wells, from contaminating underground sources of drinking water.

•Reading about EPA's Ground Water Rule. The purpose of the rule is to reduce risks to public health associated with disease-causing microorganisms in drinking water.

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