The Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) is celebrating National Groundwater Awareness Week March 11-17 along with the National Groundwater Association, the Texas Groundwater Protection Committee and other organizations across the United States to highlight the responsible development, management and use of groundwater.
Below are some facts about groundwater and answers to how TWRI and others are responding to make every drop of groundwater count.
Fact: More than 2.2 million Texans rely on their own well for drinking water and use.
Answer: Texas Well Owner Network
If you are a private well owner, check out the Texas Well Owners Network (TWON), a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service educational program. TWON offers free training for private water well owners on groundwater resources, septic system maintenance, proper well design, well maintenance, water quality and water treatment. Well owners may bring well water samples to these trainings to be screened for contaminants. Its website is full of resources for the private well owner, such as fact sheets, Hurricane Harvey resources and a schedule of upcoming training. TWON worked with Virginia Tech after Harvey to offer screenings of well water in areas affected by the hurricane.
Fact: The largest U.S. aquifer is the Ogallala Aquifer, underlying 250,000 square miles stretching from Texas to South Dakota. Scientists estimate it could take 6,000 years to naturally refill the aquifer if it were ever fully depleted.
Answer: Ogallala Aquifer projects
TWRI is involved in two projects working to conserve water from the Ogallala Aquifer, the Ogallala Aquifer Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service, and the Ogallala Water Coordinated Agriculture Project, funded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Both projects are involved in improving the sustainability of this important aquifer. Read more about the OAP and the Ogallala Water CAP.
Fact: Groundwater conservation districts are Texas’ preferred method for the management of groundwater resources.
Answer: TWRI publications
To help our readers learn about the importance of groundwater, TWRI developed an entire issue of its magazine, txH2O, to groundwater in 2014. Read Groundwater 101 for an overview of the science of groundwater, groundwater management in Texas and state agencies involved in groundwater. For a more detailed article about Texas groundwater administration, read this article and read this Q&A about groundwater law with Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agricultural law specialist.
The Texas Water Journal, the peer-reviewed journal TWRI publishes with a nonprofit, had an entire issue on groundwater, including an article about the Texas Supreme Court’s ruling in Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Day and McDaniel.