It is easy to look at a map of the world, to spin a globe, and see that the world is made up of a great deal of water. It is easy to think that taking care of our water is something that we don’t need to worry about because there is so much of it all around us.
The problem is, the story of the man stranded on a desert island can come just as easily to mind. In that story, the man cries out, “Water, Water everywhere and not a drop to drink!”
He makes this cry because the water he sees all around him, the water of this ocean is great in amount but completely void of drinkable quality. We have very little water that is usable to intake for our survival when you consider how much of the planet is made up of water.
Groundwater is a source of freshwater that we are finding more and more ways to tap into. There are just under 350 billion gallons of fresh water being withdrawn every day for our use. Of that fresh water, roughly 26% of it, or just under 80 billion gallons are groundwater. The more we drill for water, the more we need the latest technology.
When you think about the fact that it has not been very long since the days of digging for wells by hand. Digging with shovels and pickaxes until fresh water was discovered was something every pioneer had to do from the east coast to the west. Now, an engineering firm that specializes in drilling wells can dig very deep into the ground near your house to find a source of groundwater that you can count on all throughout the year. An engineering firm that knows your neighborhood and knows the geography well can be the difference between having a house where you had always dreamed and having to move your location.
Today, the movement toward not only finding fresh water but also keeping that fresh water clean and useful is what an engineering firm is hoping to do more often throughout the industry as a whole. So much of the groundwater starts off as rainwater. Roughly 25% of all rainwater becomes groundwater. Groundwater is responsible for the flow of many different streams and also for the volume of a great number of lakes.
While that should work just perfectly, we have a problem with that water getting to us as usable, fresh water. That is because many of the lakes, rivers, and streams are being damaged by pollution. There are many different reports that have judged water quality in many of these areas as having trouble with pollutants. In fact, 45% of streams in the United States, along with 47% of all lakes, and 32% of bays are polluted to an unacceptable degree.
We use over 2 billion pounds of pesticides every year and those pesticides wash down and out of site but right into our water supply. The groundwater absorbs the pollutants, making streams, lakes, rivers, and bays all subject to the pollution that we toss right into our ground. An engineering firm that works in the discipline of environmental consulting takes all of this into account when they recommend where to drill wells, where to design rainfall runoffs and how to gather water so that it can be kept fresh and unpolluted.
Additionally, much is being done to manage the pollution that exists in the water we do collect. There are agencies at work trying to find newer and better ways to take the pollutants out of the water we already have. We have usable water available, but it is never a good idea to live on the edge to the point where one significant drought can render us panicked and worried about where we will get enough water to drink.
Groundwater is becoming more and more available as technology is improving. At the same time, if we do not take care of the water we already have available, it won’t mean a lot. Polluted water is of no use to anyone. There could be water everywhere but not a drop to drink.