Groundwater Pollution and Drinking Water Scarcity

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"We have the ability to provide clean water for every man, woman and child on the Earth. What has been lacking is the collective will to accomplish this. This is the commitment we need to make to the world."

Jean-Michel Cousteau

The Issue:

Recently, the issue of drinking water quality has become a matter of great importance. Hydrogeologists and water resource managers have realized that the increased demand for drinking water, due to population growth, has placed a huge burden on our nation's groundwater resources. Groundwater resources make up a minute 0.31% of the world's water supply. Groundwater quality can be defined in terms of the concentration of its chemical constituents relative to a variety of potential uses. Groundwater is used not only for drinking water, but also for irrigation, industrial supply and cleaning. For groundwater to be used as a supply, it must be situated in an aquifer. An aquifer is a saturated geologic formation that is permeable enough to transmit water. Aquifers are usually comprised of a mix of sand and gravel layers that may be located anywhere from 1m to 800m from the land surface (Canter 1990).

Until 1974, when the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was passed, there was no standard for testing for potentially toxic elements in public water supplies. An estimated 50% of the US population obtains their drinking water from groundwater supplies. This includes the drinking water supply for three-fourths of the major cities and 36% of all municipal public drinking water supplies (Canter 1988). Staes that have widespread irrigated agriculture, partcularly those west of the Mississippi, take advantage of the huge basins of subterranean water basins. These states are significantly more de...

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... real soon. But why should we have to do that? If we all band together to combat these issues now, then that potential "later" will never come. I personally do not want to see it ever come. I am comfortable here where we are, and if keeping us here is within our power, then why should we abuse this power so?

Works Cited

Canter, L.W., & Knox, R.C. Ground Water: Pollution Control. Lewis Publishers Inc; Michigan, 1990.

Canter, L.W.; Knox, R.C.; & Fairchild D.M. Ground Water:Quality Protection. Lewis Publishers Inc; Michigan, 1988.

Amercan Society of Civil Engineers. Quality of Ground Water. ASCE Publishing; New York, 1996.

Fired, Jean J. Groundwater Pollution: Theory, Methodology, Modeling and Practical Rules. Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company; Amsterdam, 1975.

Powers, J. Patrick. Construction Dewatering. John Wiley & Sons Inc; New York, 1992.
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