Groundwater

On Protect Your Groundwater Day which took place last month, the University of Nebraska Extension team joined the National Ground Water Association in urging us to protect one of our most important natural resources – groundwater.

According to Sharon Skipton, a University of Nebraska extension educator, everyone can and should do something to protect groundwater. We all have a stake in maintaining its quality and quantity.  Here are a few bits of information and tips you should know about:

  • 95 percent of all available fresh water comes from aquifers underground.
  • Most surface water bodies are connected to groundwater.
  • Many public water systems draw all or part of their supply from groundwater.
  • If you own a well to provide water for your family, groundwater protection is doubly important. As a well owner, you are the manager of your own water system. Protecting groundwater will help reduce risks to your water supply.

There are two fundamental categories of groundwater protection: keeping it safe from contamination and using it wisely.

Actions you can take to reduce the risk of groundwater contamination include the following:

  • Use hazardous substances sparingly and according to directions.
  • Store fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides in a secure place and use according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • Stay current with your septic system inspection and pumping.
  • Have unused wells in poor condition properly decommissioned. Check with your Natural Resources District for cost-share programs.
  • Have well water tested annually for bacteria and nitrate as well as other suspected contaminants. Manage contaminants if necessary.

Information compiled by Sharon Skipton, University of Nebraska Extension Service

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