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Where would we be without groundwater?

The 15th edition of National Groundwater Awareness Week is March 10-16, 2013, and for good reason — groundwater is one of our most important natural resources, bar none, according to the National Ground Water Association.

Consider the following. An estimated 99 percent of all available freshwater in the world is groundwater. So, understanding its significance and using it wisely to meet human and environmental needs is extremely important.

Here are some other interesting U.S. groundwater facts:

Nearly 44 percent of the population regularly depends on groundwater for its drinking water supply
Community water systems use 14.6 billion gallons of groundwater a day
Individual household water wells provide 3.7 billion gallons of groundwater a day
Approximately 88 million people rely on groundwater-supplied community water systems
About 42 million people rely on groundwater-supplied household water wells
Irrigation in America uses about 53.5 billion gallons of groundwater a day.

The story of groundwater is more than how many people use it and how much they use. For instance, groundwater is directly connected to most surface water bodies, providing much of the flow of many streams. It’s estimated by the U.S. Geological Society that about 30 percent of U.S. streamflow on average is from groundwater.

In short, groundwater plays a vital role in the health of ecosystems, so it’s smart to be groundwater aware.

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