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National Groundwater Awareness

National Groundwater Awareness, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights for March 16, 2018, http://communityenvironment.unl/national-groundwater-awareness

In Nebraska, almost 85 percent of people receive their drinking water from groundwater resources. This includes individual homeowners living in suburban and rural areas as well as the majority of towns and cities across the state—including Lincoln.

Nebraska is also fortunate to have many, many miles of streams and rivers, which are connected to groundwater stores. The relative wealth of water resources—particularly groundwater resources—across the state, can often cause us to overlook their critical importance for people and our state as a whole.

Below are just a few of the amazing facts from the National Groundwater Association about groundwater and how we use it:

  • Only 1% of the water on Earth is useable and 99% of that is groundwater
  • The United States uses 349 billion gallons of freshwater every day
  • Groundwater is 20-30 times larger than all U.S. lakes, streams and rives combined
  • Groundwater accounts for 33% of all the water used by US municipalities
  • More than 13.2 million households have their own well, which represents 34 million people. In Nebraska, approximately 25% of our population have their own well which represents about 450,000 people.
  • The largest US aquifer is the High Plains aquifer, which underlies 250,000 square miles stretching from Texas to South Dakota. Scientists estimate it could take 6000 years to naturally refill the aquifer if it were ever fully depleted. Most of Nebraska sits atop the Ogallala formation of the aquifer.
  • Groundwater is the world’s most extracted raw material with withdrawal rates in the estimated range of 259 trillion gallons per year.

To learn more about Nebraska’s very important groundwater resources visit the Nebraska Extension, UNL’s Conservation and Survey Division, your local Natural Resources District  website.  They can help you investigate groundwater in the state, and also help you examine and better understand your role in protecting groundwater quantity and quality.

Image of Becky Schuerman, Nebraska Extension Associate
Becky Schuerman
Extension Associate, Domestic Water, Wastewater Management
Becky Schuerman is the Nebraska Extension Associate for Domestic Water/Wastewater Management. She has been in this role since 2019 and previously worked in the regulatory field for the State of Nebraska Public Drinking Water and Water Well Standards Programs for over 17 years. Becky is no stranger to working collaboratively with the Nebraska Well Drillers and Onsite Wastewater Associations, Nebraska’s NRDs, Nebraska Rural Water Association, Nebraska Section AWWA, the Groundwater Foundation, NDEE, UNL and EPA Region 7. Becky holds a Bachelor of Science in Ag & Natural Resources, is a graduate of the Nebraska Water Leaders Academy, and is working on her Master of Science degree in Natural Resources, Human Dimensions.

Contact Becky at:
Lancaster County Extension
444 Cherrycreek Rd Ste A
Lincoln NE 68528-1591