Groundwater — Making the Invisible Visible

I woke up today feeling extremely happy and grateful. I know you're wondering why; after all, today isn't even a palindrome or the full moon where the wolves are allowed to play. Well, today's World Water Day and it is as special as a palindrome. Having doubts? Let's do a little exercise. 

Imagine a world without water. Horrible right? Aye! It is synonymous with a world with vampires living amongst us; we'd all be dead in time. Let's face it, a world without water is surely detrimental to our survival -- our health, economy, agriculture and biodiversity would be adversely affected. Frankly speaking, planet earth would be in sheer chaos without water. No wonder, there's a popular saying that "Water is Life." Can you see why today is significant?

Sadly, a large percentage of the world's population is alienated from adequate water. In fact, a UNICEF report of 2019 shows that 

"Globally, 1 in 3 people do not have access to safe drinking water." 

This results in issues and water-borne diseases. 

This calls for conversations about water and how we can help in improving the availability and quality of water. Well, we can start by discussing often neglected topics bordering on water. Let's talk about Groundwater. Interestingly, the theme for this year's World Water Day is "Making the Invisible Visible".


As you go on with your daily activities, you might have come across water beneath stones, sand and on the ground like little streams; if you have, then you probably might have come across groundwater. To give a clearer description, groundwater is a part of rainwater that flows through unsaturated zones into underground layers containing materials such as stones, sand, gravel etc. which can store a significant amount of water. These materials are known as "aquifers." 

In simpler terms, groundwater is any water found below the surface of the ground; supplied by rainwater, lakes, rivers and fills available and void spaces in rocks and soils below the earth's surface.

Often, we neglect the importance of groundwater because there are other sources of water readily available for our needs. However, most of the world's water is unfit for consumption. Seemingly, groundwater has proven to be just as important as other sources of water. Here are 5 reasons why:

1. Fit for Use and Consumption 

Groundwater is an important water source that can be consumed by humans. Over 2.4 billion of the world's population utilize groundwater in several ways including drinking.

Although sourced beneath the ground surface, groundwater is fresh and safe for drinking. Materials such as stones and sands often referred to as "AQUIFERS" keep the water conserved and fresh. Additionally, groundwater is protected from contamination because it's stored beneath the ground. This makes the water quality good. Interestingly, groundwater amounts to 30% of freshwater available on the planet, with 69% of freshwater existing as solid ice in frozen areas and the remaining 1% present in rivers and lakes.

2. Helps in Agriculture

Water is an important resource needed for plant growth and food production. This makes groundwater crucial in irrigation especially in dry seasons when there's water scarcity. Also, groundwater help in sustaining plants habiting around that water area.

3. Helps in Sustaining the Environment

Groundwater performs a vital role in the water cycle. During dry seasons, groundwater flows into wetlands, rivers and lakes, providing water for animal consumption and plant growth. Similarly, it takes in water from these sources during rainfall and preserves it for drier seasons.

4. Groundwater Keeps the Environment Cool

Notice that our environment is parched, dusty and sunny when rainfall is limited. Well, groundwater protects us from having an aridic environment and keeps the earth cool and serene. 

5. Boosting and Sustaining the Economy 

Groundwater helps in maintaining the economy of a nation. Since groundwater boosts crop production through irrigated agriculture, there is a huge production of food which help in economic development. Groundwater is also used by industries in the production of goods.

Groundwater is in abundance. It makes up 99% of liquid freshwater globally. However, it is subject to pollution and depletion. How can we manage this invaluable resource sustainably? The UNESCO share great insights on this in this video:

Groundwater is a very significant natural resource to humanity. It provides the earth with water necessary in aiding existence. Therefore, as we commemorate World Water Day, let's appreciate the importance of groundwater in our ecosystem and devise better ways to manage them. 

Again, water is life. Happy World Water Day.

Nelson Oboh

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  1. Wow... Beautiful. I'm learning about groundwater fir the first time and it's amazing reading here. Thanks @ploggingnigeria for sharing this.