What is groundwater and why is it so important?
Thinking about freshwater often brings to mind pictures of flowing streams and crystal clear lakes, but actually, almost all freshwater in the world (that is not frozen and locked away in ice caps and glaciers) is groundwater.
Groundwater is the water found underground in the cracks and spaces in soil, sand, and rock. It is held in aquifers—permeable water-bearing rock and/or sediment – and can be extracted through wells or bubbles up naturally through a spring or is discharged into lakes or streams. Even though it’s underground, when it does bubble up, groundwater helps to replenish and maintain levels of surface water – the bodies of water that we are used to seeing such as rivers, lakes, streams. Groundwater helps to keep our rivers free-flowing.