World Water Day
World Water Day 2022
Ground water; Making the Invisible Visible
Water is known as the driving force of all nature. It is the fuel for all living thing. Every year this day (March 22) is celebrated to mark the importance of water. The focus of world water day is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030. This year’s theme for World Water Day is ‘Groundwater, making the invisible visible’.
What is Groundwater?
Groundwater is water that is found beneath the Earth’s surface and fills the pores in sediment or the cracks in underground rocks. It makes up 30% of freshwater worldwide.
Groundwater is regularly pumped from drilled boreholes (wells) for use in farming, industry and homes and it is recharge by surface water from rain, river, snow or melting ice. Groundwater is an important part of climate change adaptation, it sustains the ecosystem, maintains the flow of rivers, prevent seawater intrusion and land subsidence.
Facts about groundwater you might not know
· 99% of the reusable freshwater on earth is groundwater
· There are estimated 2.8 million trillion gallons of groundwater, 30.1% of the world freshwater
· About 27 trillion gallons of groundwater are withdrawn for use each year in the United States
· It is estimated that 20% of world’s population depends on crops irrigated by groundwater
· 1/3 of water required by industries are gotten from groundwater.
· According to NASA the world’s most overstressed groundwater source is the Arabian Aquifer System, which supplies water for more than 60 million people
· 67% of all groundwater is used for irrigation (food production)
· Groundwater supplies ½ of all drinking water in the world (UNESCO-WWAP, 2009)
· In Africa, more people have access to a mobile phone (93%) than to piped water (Afrobarometer, 2016)
· Globally, 1/3 of all schools lack access to safe water (WHO & UNICEF, 2015)
Groundwater is a hidden treasure underneath our feet, out of sight that supports our lives and ecosystems; invisible but its impacts is visible everywhere. However, in many areas of the world, groundwater resources are being rapidly used up at an alarming and unsustainable rates. Just because it is underground doesn’t mean that groundwater is safe from many of the same environmental issues that surface water faces. These environmental issues includes:
Pollution is one of the major environmental issue that affect groundwater. Groundwater pollution comes from different sources such as; harmful substance or chemicals release or disposed into the soil. When rain washes agricultural products like fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides into the ground, nitrates from these agricultural products contaminate underground water which becomes dangerous for drinking because they’ve been linked to various cancers, miscarriages and even birth defects.
Toxic chemicals that are not properly disposed in manufacturing industries may leach into the ground, causing pollution to underground water. Also underground storage tanks, like septic tanks, can also leak sewage waste, toxic chemicals, oil in to the ground.
2. Mining activities
Groundwater pollution problems can be associated with mining activities. The nature of the pollution depends on the materials being extracted and the post-extraction processes involved. Coal, salt, potash, phosphate and uranium mines are major polluters of groundwater
Humans are currently extracting groundwater faster than it can be replenished, this is due to the increase in population which in turn has led to increase in large scale agricultural irrigation. Today, approximately 70% of global groundwater withdrawals are used in the agricultural sector, for livestock, food and industrial crops. Continuous ground water use can lead to depletion of this resource, which threatens undermine basic water supply, compromises significant groundwater-dependent ecosystems, climate resilience and food security.
Effects of Ground Water Depletion
· Reduction of water in streams and lakes
· Deterioration of water quality
· Land subsidence
· Increased pumping costs
· Limits biodiversity
Ways to Conserve Groundwater
1. Reduce the use of chemicals
Use fewer chemicals around your home, gardens or yard and make sure you dispose properly
2. Dispose your waste properly and sustainable
3. Shut of water when your brush your teeth or shave.
4. Check all faucets, toilets and taps in your home, offices for leaks and get them fixed right away
5. Reduce the amount of time you spend while taking a shower.
6. Use natural/nontoxic household cleaner. Materials like vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice are excellent cleaning and environmental product
7. Get involved in water education. Learn more about groundwater, share your knowledge with friends and family (Learn more, do more)
1. Gleick, P. H., 1996: Water resources. In Encyclopedia of Climate and Weather, ed. by S. H. Schneider, Oxford University Press, New York, vol. 2, pp.817-823
2. D.W. Clark and D.W. Briar. Open-File Report 93-643, reprinted April 2001
3. NGWA- Groundwater Fundamentals
4. The importance of groundwater – LONGWOOD UNIVERSITY
5. UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) 2009
6. WHO & UNICEF, Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water 2015 Update and MDG Assessment