Investment in groundwater-related infrastructure could provide more jobs, water supplies
From brownfield cleanups and aquifer storage to geothermal heat pumps and drinking water systems, federal investment in groundwater-related infrastructure could provide a substantial boost to the public and the economy, the National Ground Water Assn. (NGWA) said this week.
In a position paper developed by the association, NGWA said the groundwater industry is “poised to help move the nation forward” in ensuring its long-term water and energy needs are met. The industry employs more than 200,000 individuals in water well and pump installation and service, environmental consulting, remediation, education, and the manufacturing and distribution of products.
“Focused, informed federal government policies and funding that support 21st century infrastructure can assist in achieving a secure water and energy future while providing jobs for groundwater professionals,” said NGWA.
More specifically, NGWA recommends:
• Federal support for water infrastructure that includes managed aquifer recharge products. Managed aquifer recharge provides a method to replenish groundwater supplies by capturing available water (during wet periods, during periods of low demand, or water that would be lost otherwise).
• Support of brownfield projects through grants for assessment, revolving loan funds and cleanup. An estimated 450,000 brownfield sites pockmark the nation’s landscape, having formerly hosted facilities that produced goods, services and jobs. Currently the expansion, redevelopment or reuse of that land is hampered by the potential for contamination presence, including in the groundwater.
• Government support for alternative energy development including geothermal energy utilized through geothermal heat pump systems. Schools and defense facilities around the country that have installed geothermal heat pump systems are reaping the benefits through reduced energy use and costs.
• Refurbishing and upgrading drinking water systems and infrastructure using skilled and knowledgeable groundwater professionals. Groundwater professionals determine water supply availability; engineer and install water wells and pumping and treatment systems; and service these systems.
“There is nothing more important to human life and economic development than the availability of a dependable supply of water and energy,” said NGWA Executive Director Kevin B. McCray, CAE. “NGWA vigorously recommends that our nation strengthen this foundation through meaningful investment in water and energy infrastructure. The benefits of such investments will flow to the public.”
The position paper can be found at www.ngwa.org/Documents/PositionPapers/Infrastructure_Nov_2011_single_pages.pdf .