Keeping fresh water safe and abundant is a challenge for all societies. In the U.S., about half of the country’s drinking water comes from groundwater sources. Many rural areas derive all of their drinking water from groundwater, which also provides 40 percent of the irrigation needs of American farmers. While underground aquifers may at one point have seemed limitless, huge demand for water (especially in arid areas like the Southwest) means that groundwater reserves are precious and need to be carefully managed with conservation in mind. Also, groundwater is easily contaminated by any number of common man-made products like gasoline, oil, road salts, pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals.

 

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