Groundwater is what I would consider our colourless hidden gems protected by the Earth’s surface. Only 3% of all water on Earth is freshwater. For the “Blue Planet”, this is dangerously low. Groundwater is the second largest freshwater source on Earth making up 0.61% whilst the largest is glaciers and ice making up 2.15% of all freshwater on Earth (#watermatters101). Surprisingly, rivers, dams and lakes which are our primary sources for human consumption, make up only 0.009% of the earth’s freshwater resources.
Groundwater is a good alternative to supplement water use, however, it is important to understand that Groundwater as well, is a finite resource which should always be used sustainably.
Here are a few important considerations regarding groundwater use.
1. Always establish sustainable water yields through pump testing.
2. Establish a monitoring program, to make sure your water use is not detrimental or damaging to the groundwater resource and the environment.
3. Test the water quality, to make sure that the water source is not harmful to human health.
4. Geology and/or contamination sources may contribute to poor water quality.
Be mindful of:
1. Geophysical studies which are used to cite potential boreholes doesn't provide absolute certainty that you will find groundwater.
2. If you drill boreholes in a radius of 500m or less from a wetland, you may by law be required to do an Environmental Impact Assessment because there may be potential for your groundwater use to impact the wetland/s negatively.
3. Borehole drilling in a distance of 100m or less of a river or wetland may not be permitted as there is potential to negatively impact these surface water resources.
4. A 32 meter buffer must always be maintained from all environmental infrastructure including rivers and wetlands, to avoid and limit negative impacts on the environment.
5. A buffer is defined as “an area of land designated for environmental protection”.
6. Always use a reputable company for borehole drilling. The cheapest option is not always the best.
7. You may be prosecuted if your groundwater or environmental activity is illegal and reputation damage is never worth it.
8. Laws and regulations are there to sustain the environment. We are part of that environment.
9. Groundwater is a natural resource.
10. Natural resources are limited. We should always keep this in mind with everything that we do. We need natural resources. We use natural resources every day. Let us use our natural resources in a way where they are able to replenish themselves. There is no substitute for many of our natural resources.
11. At the top of planning and adding an additional water source, always look at reducing, reusing and recycling. Reducing consumption, monitoring and fixing leaks... you may have all the water you need without even drilling a new borehole.
12. Always, always, always continue to educate ourselves on the importance of water (#watermatters101), because without it all life cannot exist.