Groundwater and Aquifers

What is groundwater?

Groundwater is a component of the water cycle; it comes from the infiltration of precipitation through voids in soil and rocks. Once all the available space is filled with water, it is said to be saturated. Groundwater flows through aquifers, which are geological formations made up of granular or fractured material from which a sufficient quantity of water can be extracted to serve as a water supply.

The recharge rate of an aquifer provides some indication of the quantity of water that can be pumped in a sustainable manner. The velocity at which groundwater flows towards lakes and oceans vary from a few centimeters to a few meters per year.

What is an aquifer?

An aquifer is a geological formation, composed of granular sediments or fractured rock, which contains sufficient saturated permeable material to yield significant quantities of water to wells and springs.

How is groundwater contaminated?

Groundwater contamination is linked to deficient practices and faulty infrastructures. Examples of potential sources of contamination include: spreading excessive amounts of manure and overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, poorly designed septic tanks, poorly controlled or managed landfill sites, hydrocarbon reservoir or pipeline leaks, accidental spills, excessive use of road salt, livestock production waste, sewage system leaks, mining residue, liquid waste disposal wells, etc.

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