Sep 24, 2012

'Critical Needs' Report Urges Building of National Groundwater Monitoring Network

The report recommends monitoring surface and subsurface water quantity and quality

National Groundwater Association Groundwater

The National Ground Water Assn. (NGWA) applauded a new report that urges building the National Ground Water Monitoring Network to help ensure America’s critical need for sufficient water supplies.

This week, the American Geosciences Institute released, “Critical Needs for the Twenty-First Century: The Role of Geosciences.” Providing sufficient supplies of water is one of eight critical needs identified in the report.

Within that need, the report specifically recommends, “Monitoring of surface and subsurface water quantity and quality with a focus on enhancing the National Streamflow Information Program and building the National Groundwater [sic] Monitoring Network.”

NGWA has been a longtime advocate of the National Ground Water Monitoring Network.

In the United States, 78% of community water systems, nearly all of rural America’s private household water wells and 42% of agricultural irrigation water are supplied by groundwater. While the nation’s people, food supply, economy and ecosystems depend on groundwater, no systematic nationwide monitoring network is in place to measure what is currently available and how groundwater levels and quality may be changing over time.

“As with any valuable natural resource, our groundwater reserves must be monitored to assist in planning and minimizing potential impacts from shortages or supply disruptions,” said NGWA Government Affairs Director Christine Reimer. “Just as one cannot effectively oversee the nation’s economy without key data, one cannot adequately address the nation’s food, energy, economic and drinking water security without understanding the extent, availability and sustainability of the critical commodity—groundwater.”

Congress has authorized a national groundwater monitoring network, and proponents are seeking federal funding to build it.

“In the face of current and anticipated water supply shortages, public and private sector water professionals have put out the call over the years for increased groundwater monitoring and the dissemination of the resulting data to the nation—and the need to take action continues to this day,” Reimer said.