While it’s said groundwater is “out of sight and out of mind” for many people, that is becoming less and less true as NGWA’s National Groundwater Awareness Week continues to grow in reach and impact each year.
Just one indicator of progress in raising public awareness about groundwater is the nearly 400 websites—a record number—promoting the 16th edition of Groundwater Awareness Week that’s held March 9-15.
In Illinois alone, at least 10 county health departments promoted groundwater awareness to constituents, including Lake County, which offered discounted water tests to well owners.
"About 90,000 Lake County residents rely on groundwater from aquifers to supply their private wells," said Tony Beltran, the Health Department's executive director. "The Health Department encourages all users of private wells to take this time to have their drinking water tested, and to test it at least annually to see if it meets the minimum drinking water standards."
The breadth and depth of organizations educating the public during Groundwater Awareness Week was significant. For example:
- Federal agencies including the CDC, U.S. EPA, U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Geological Survey
- Non-governmental national organizations including the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Water Resources Association, Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Golf Course Superintendents Association, Irrigation Association, National Association of Conservation Districts and the National Rural Health Association.
- News media ranging from Mother Earth News to the (Fla.) Oyster Radio WOYS 100.5
- State agencies from the Maryland Department of the Environment to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality
- Universities from Cornell University to the University of Memphis
- Extension services from The Ohio State University to Penn State to Texas A&M
- State associations from the Idaho Environmental Health Association to the Virginia Water Environment Association
- Local government entities from the Santa Clara Valley Water District (Calif.) to the city of Madison, Wis.
NGWA Public Awareness Director Cliff Treyens said National Groundwater Awareness Week adds momentum to individual organization efforts to educate the public about groundwater and water well stewardship.
“Instead of a lonely voice here and there, Groundwater Awareness Week creates a chorus of voices that speaks loudly about what is arguably our nation’s most important natural resource—groundwater,” Treyens said.
Treyens encouraged all NGWA members to mark their calendars for the next “watershed” groundwater recognition event—Protect Your Groundwater Day on September 9 —and plans to promote it to the public.
NGWA is a nonprofit that supports responsible development, management and use of water resources. It’s comprised of groundwater professionals ranging from contractors to equipment manufacturers to scientists and engineers. For more information, visit www.ngwa.org.