Where Does Groundwater Come From?
When you were in primary school you probably covered the water cycle in Natural Science class; you know, condensation, precipitation, all of those? What this basic water cycle probably left out was groundwater; and groundwater is actually an integral part of the water cycle. Knowing where to find a groundwater source can be valuable, especially when there are not nearby water sources above ground.
What Is A Groundwater Source?
Groundwater is water that is underground that can, when found in large enough quantities, be tapped into by something like a well, or a borehole, in order to extract the water from the underground source in order to use it.
Where Does Groundwater Fit Into The Water Cycle?
When we experience precipitation (in any and all forms including snow, sleet, hail and rain) some of that water ends up getting soaked into the ground. Now of some of the water that gets absorbed by the ground gets sucked up and used by plants and the like, but the rest is driven further and further down by gravity, until it reaches a depth where the ground is saturated with water – this is called the saturation zone, and the top of the saturation zone is called the water table. The water table may be relatively close to the earth’s surface, or it may be hundreds of meters below the surface of the earth. If the water table is near enough the surface, the saturation zone can be reached by means of wells and/or boreholes, and the water used.
However, although groundwater exists almost everywhere, it is not always in quantities that make it possible to extract water by implementing a borehole or a well. For a borehole or a well to be sunk, you really need to have found an aquifer.
What Is An Aquifer?
An aquifer is a kind of saturation zone where the underground formation is of permeable rock, in other words, an underground rock formation which may contain, or serve to transmit, groundwater. Aquifers can also vary in size, from smaller aquifers that may be tapped into to provide water for a household, to massive aquifers which can be tapped to provide irrigation water to multiple farms at a time.
What Is The Environmental Impact Of Tapping Into An Aquifer?
The environmental impact of sinking a borehole or using a well to tap into an aquifer will vary greatly depending on the rate at which you intend to use water from the groundwater source. Misuse of groundwater resources may, however, lead to environmental devastation as plants whose root systems tap into the groundwater source begin to die, or animals that drink from the groundwater source where it appears as a natural spring begin to lose access to fresh drinking water.
Have any questions? Don’t hesitate, contact RPM Drilling today.