March 6 – 12 is National Groundwater Awareness Week sponsored by the National Ground Water Association. To celebrate this week, we thought we would list some interesting facts about groundwater in the United States!
- While about 90 percent of our freshwater supplies lie underground, less than 27 percent of the water Americans use comes from underground sources, which illustrates the underutilization of groundwater.
- The United States uses 79.6 billion gallons per day of fresh groundwater for public supply, private supply, irrigation, livestock, manufacturing, mining, thermoelectric power, and other purposes.
- California pumps 10.7 billion gallons per day of groundwater for all purposes, a third more as much than the second-ranked state — Texas (8.02 bgd).
- More than 15.9 million water wells for all purposes serve the United States.
- Approximately 500,000 new residential wells are constructed annually, according to NGWA estimates. The construction of these vitally needed water supply systems involves the use of more than 18,460 drilling machines by an estimated 8,085 groundwater contracting firms.
- NGWA has determined that 44 percent of the U.S. population depends on groundwater for its drinking water supply — be it from either a public source or private well.
- Private household wells constitute the largest share of all water wells in the United States — more than 13.249 million year-round occupied households have their own well.
- Other kinds of wells are used for municipal systems, industry, agriculture, and quality monitoring. Groundwater accounts for 33 percent of all the water used by U.S. municipalities.
- Michigan, with an estimated 1,121,075 households served by private water wells, is the largest state market, followed by Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New York, and Florida.
- Irrigation accounts for the largest use of groundwater in the United States. Some 53.5 billion gallons of groundwater are used daily for agricultural irrigation from 407,923 wells. In 1900, the United States used only 2.2 billion gallons of groundwater daily for irrigation from 17,000 wells.
- More than 90 percent of the groundwater pumped from the Ogallala, the nation’s largest aquifer underlying some 250,000 square miles stretching from Texas to South Dakota, is used for agricultural irrigation. Representing about one-third of all U.S. irrigated agriculture, it creates about $20 billion annually in food and fiber.
- If spread across the surface of the entire United States, the Ogallala’s groundwater would cover all 50 states with 1.5 feet of water. Scientists estimate it could take 6,000 years to refill naturally if it were ever to be fully withdrawn.
- Texas leads the nation in the number of irrigation wells with 77,389.
An easy way to cut down indoor water use is to be sure and always use a full load when washing clothes. This is true even if your washer has size settings!
- Use the shortest wash cycle for lightly soiled loads.
- Pre-treat stains to avoid rewashing.
- If your washer has a variable water volume setting, select the minimum amount required per load.
- Operate the washer with full loads only – even if the machine has an adjustable load setting.
Did You Know? POSGCD is a member of 2 Groundwater Management Areas (GMA). GMAs work together to create DFC’s and work with the regional water planning groups.
GMA – Groundwater Management Areas were created “in order to provide for the conservation, preservation, protection, recharging, and prevention of waste of the groundwater, and of groundwater reservoirs or their subdivisions, and to control subsidence caused by withdrawal of water from those groundwater reservoirs or their subdivisions, consistent with the objectives of Section 59, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, groundwater management areas may be created…”
Confused on what application will fit your new well?
POSGCD has several different types of applications on our webpage. These correspond with the different ways POSGCD manages wells in Milam & Burleson counties. Here is a break down of the two main types of applications:
Exempt Well = Registration
An exempt well (according to Texas Water Code, Chapter 36.117) must be incapable of producing 25,000 gallons per day (which means it can produce no more than 17.36 gallons per minute), and the water must be used for domestic use or watering of livestock. According to State Law, the well is small enough that it does not need a permit, however we require a registration to let us know of its existence for spacing and other science-based reasons. This section usually covers household wells or wells for livestock, and for this reason these uses are considered exempt. If you are unsure of the size, contact our office and we will help!
Non-Exempt Well = Permit
A well that produces more than 17.36 gallons per minute, or the use of the water is different than the exempted uses of domestic use or watering of livestock. These wells must be permitted, which means the application must be approved before receiving your permit. The main things we look for in approval include checking that the spacing meets our requirements and that you do not exceed 2 acre-feet per acre of contiguous land you own. To learn more about the requirements of a permitted well, contact our office. These wells are usually for irrigating large fields or supplying large facilities.
For more info and any questions please contact our office! We are always here to help!
It is known that Post Oak Savannah covers Milam & Burleson counties, but did you know there are several aquifer layers within the District boundaries?
There is one major aquifer named the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer. The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has great info on the aquifer and you can find that link by clicking on the aquifer name. A major aquifer is defined as an aquifer that produces large amounts of water over a large area. You can find all the major aquifers in Texas here.
There are several minor aquifers within the District’s boundaries. These are the Sparta, Queen City, Yegua-Jackson, and the Brazos River Alluvium. Click on each minor aquifer for a TWDB summary. A minor aquifer is defined as one that supplies large quantities of water in small areas or small quantities of water in large areas. Click on each minor aquifer for a TWDB summary. You can find all the minor aquifers in Texas here.
As the start of a new year begins, we wanted to share some great household water conservation tips to ensure that 2016 is the best conservation year for you! There are several ways you can conserve water this year but the best thing to do is always be conscious of your water use. Our top three goals for 2016 include:
- Upgrade appliances – There are many water saving appliances on the market. Be sure to discuss all the pros and cons of all brands with the provider to ensure that quality of the product is not lost.
- Fix leaky faucets – We all come across a leaky faucet over time. Make it a point this year to change out old gaskets!
- Only water your landscape after the sun goes down – There are many ways to conserve water while maintaining a health lawn. See the fact sheet below for more information on irrigating and all of your household conservation practices!
The Texas Well Owner Network has a great factsheet on how you can maintain your water well in a floodplain. With the wet weather we’ve been experiencing it is important to ensure that your well does not become contaminated!
There are a number of great fact sheets provided by the Texas Well Owner Network. Check out all of them at http://twon.tamu.edu/fact-sheets/.
Its #WaterTipWednesday! A great alternative source of water can be through rain water harvesting. There are a variety of ways you can harvest rainwater. Texas A&M University has a website that shows the multiple possibilities that are available with rainwater harvesting. Check out their website here.
Did you know? It is recommended to test your private water well annually, and any time there is maintenance performed on the well. Any time the well is opened up gives bacteria and other contaminants a chance to enter the well. For more information on contamination contact our office. Click the link to find the nearest accredited lab: https://www.tceq.texas.gov/field/qa/env_lab_accreditation.html