Threat to Vital Resource
Increased National Awareness of Need to Act
For every gallon of fresh water flowing in the nation's rivers and confined by lakes, roughly 24 more are hidden underground—enough to fill the Great Lakes at least four times. Groundwater forms a vast natural resource that has grown in importance even as it has become increasingly endangered. U.S. consumption of groundwater rose from 34 billion gallons a day in 1950 to 88 billion gallons a day in 1980. Approximately half the nation now depends on groundwater—often untreated—for drinking water. Yet contaminated groundwater has been reported in every state. Household, farm and industrial wastes are being detected in the nation's underground water supplies with increasing frequency.
Groundwater protection is limited in part because there is no ...