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Fresh water is one of our most important natural resources becauseit’s needed for survival and there is no substitute for it.

Unlike energy,which has many alternative forms there are no alternatives for water. Mostof our earth is covered by water, but only a tiny amount is available forfresh water. The amount of accessible fresh water varies from country tocountry and region to region. The United States has abundant amount ofwater, but many regions have shortages and this is where groundwater comesin. Groundwater is very important to these parts of the world, it is usedfor farming and drinking in these areas.

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Groundwater helps these area’stremendously and has to be used in normal quantities as they are liable torun out which causes many problems such as sinkholes, human displacement,and for soil to be totally drained of water useless for agriculturalpurposes. Even though tapping aquifers is a very practical idea it hassome set backs as it can have disaterous eff!ects if polluted or over used.Groundwater originates as water or melting snow that seeps intothe soil and finds it’s way down through cracks and spaces in rock untilit is stopped by a impermeable layer of rock, where it forms asgroundwater. the porous layers of underground rock in which thegroundwater is stored are called aquifers. These – 2 -aquifers can either be confined or unconfined. The aquifers that arereplaced by surface water directly above them are called unconfined.Confined aquifers are water deposits that are stuck between two layers ofimpermeable rock, this is sometimes called artesian wells. The water inartesian well is under extreme pressure and is often the most popularchoice for wells as you can estimate the amount of water in them and bevery accurate.

There are many advantages to using groundwater for house water andfarming in many parts of the world. In a desert there are very few waterways and this makes living here near impossible. With underground watersupplies you can access water which does not take up surface water whichtakes up valuable farming land. In small countries this is particularlyimportant as the more area for farming the better.When surface water such as rivers and lakes are used for house anddrinking water many lakes water levels are lowered to dangerously lowlevels which could kill many types of animal species in these areas. Thewater has an abundance of minerals in it which are lost when the waterlevel goes down which can not be leached into the soil from lakes andrivers.- 3 -When living in large metropolis areas such as Tucson, Miami,Phoenix, and Memphis where there are not many lakes located in the middleof the large cities and thus they have to get there water from somewhereelse. Without groundwater many cities in this area would not exist asthere is no fresh water sources nearby causing them to have to drill forwater.

The use of groundwater also helps nature as it helps in theprevention of flooding. When area’s need water they look to surface waterand if there is none they use groundwater. If there is not much water inan area they will damn the water source and it will flood the land killingmany animals and there homes.By using grroundwater they save animals homes and get good drinking water.Groundwater also has it’s problems.

There may be more problemsthan advantages as so much can happen if groundwater is used excessively.When an aquifer is drained enough the earth around it will start to loseit’s support causing sinkholes. these can cause lot of damage to personalproperty and endanger human life. In Winter park, Florida a sinkholeoccurred that was 400 hundred feet wide and 125 feet deep. Sinkholes canhappen in seconds and often have no warning to when they are going toappear. Many regions that experience sinkholes – 4 -do not feel the full effect of sinkholes.

this is because the land sinksover periods of time which most people can not detect but studies haveshown in the last 40 years in Texas have shown that lands on the Ogallalaaquifer have sunk of levels up to 21 m.The overuse of an aquifer near coastal areas can cause salt waterintrusion which happens when a aquifer is depleted faster than it canreplenish itself, so water from the oceans filter into the systems.

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