The Basics

What is Groundwater?

Groundwater is the water found underground in the cracks and spaces in soil, sand and rock. It is stored in and moves slowly through geologic formations of soil, sand and rocks called aquifers.



How much do we depend on groundwater?

  • Groundwater supplies drinking water for 51% of the total U.S. population and 99% of the rural population.

  • Groundwater helps grow our food. 64% of groundwater is used for irrigation to grow crops.

  • Groundwater is an important component in many industrial processes.

  • Groundwater is a source of recharge for lakes, rivers, and wetlands.


Groundwater Use

Image and figures courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey