What is groundwater? Why is it so important for the life on Earth and what are the steps we take to safeguard it?


Do you have an idea of something that you cannot be able to see, but is vital to life? It’s likely that you’re thinking of oxygen, however another option is groundwater.

The term “groundwater” refers to the water that made its way from the Earth’s surface into gaps and cracks in the soil, sand and rocks. The majority of everything in the globe’s freshwater liquid is groundwater as per the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, making it an essential component of life on Earth.

The areas that are left empty in the underground which water from the ground fills are referred to as saturated zones areas that are located below the table of water. The water is then able to travel down until it comes to an impenetrable layer of rocks and then flows back up through formations of rock as well as sediment , referred to as Aquifers.

 Natural sources for groundwater are streams, springs, oceans and rivers, however it is also possible to release groundwater in a controlled manner through wells that are drilled into the aquifers. The duration of groundwater’s stay underground may range from a few hours to many thousands of years.

Why is groundwater so important?

The FAO refers to groundwater in the FAO as “the invisible ingredient in food” and it is said that the US Geological Survey says it is one of the world’s top natural resources..

About 70% from the earth’s surface water resources are utilized for the production of livestock, food as well as industrial crops. about a third of all the water used for irrigation of crops is groundwater.

The people who live in the drier regions of the globe depend mostly on groundwater to supply their water. For the US, groundwater supplies at 50 percent of the freshwater used by eight states The most dependent state is Mississippi which accounts for 84% of the total – and it is responsible for less than one third of the nation’s freshwater consumption.

India is largest user of groundwater which accounts for more than about a quarter of the global total as per the World Bank, and North America and South Asia are most reliant on this resource to supply irrigation.

The natural habitats of our planet also require groundwater as it helps ensure the flow of water to wetlands as well as streams.

Furthermore, several industrial processes utilize groundwater resources typically in areas where the quality of water is critical however the access to water on surface is not as easy. This includes mining, manufacturing oil and gas and energy generation, as well as the construction and engineering industries.

Concerns about groundwater

The demand for groundwater is growing in rapid speed and, in many places it is being taken faster than nature is able to replenish it.

A major reason for this is an increase in the production of food. The FAO HTML0says that food production needs to increase 50 percent by 2050 in order to meet the demands of a population that is expected to grow to 9 billion by 2050.


Another issue is the impact of pollution. Organic and chemical fertilizers employed in agriculture could affect groundwater quality experts are concerned that the effects are harming ecosystem health and human health. The scientific journal PNAS reports that as much as half these contaminants could reach the table of groundwater.

Overuse is yet another aspect of the issue, as the draw of more groundwater from aquifers, than being replenished through snow and rain. Continuous overuse can reduce long-term groundwater levels, threatening groundwater-dependent ecosystems such as springs and plant communities.

How can we solve this problem?

It’s crucial to guard groundwater from pollution according to the FAO advises, and offers enhanced monitoring.

” Sustainable groundwater use requires continuous monitoring of water consumption, particularly in irrigation systems serviced from non-renewable aquifers,” it adds. “Satellite technologies offer cost-effective opportunities for estimating groundwater consumption and abstraction levels.”

The World Bank too calls for greater monitoring but says that the sustainable long term sustainability of the groundwater requires the support of influential institutions and legal protection. It recommends that pollution be stopped by establishing zones of protection in the vicinity of groundwater abstraction sites.

The availability of safe water despite adverse consequences caused by climate change are among the biggest challenges facing the world today according to according to the World Economic Forum says, noting that the livelihoods of many rural communities are dependent on agriculture, and consequently, groundwater. It is imperative to plan better and collaboration, a greater spending, analysis of data and technological advancement to conserve and manage the world’s the water resource.

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