What is Groundwater?

Groundwater is water which is stored underground in permeable rocks. The period of storage may be a few weeks or several years depending on the geology. Most groundwater flows and emerges at the ground surface as a spring or within a river.

Groundwater and surface water are intimately connected such that pollution which enters groundwater can emerge in surface water. Equally, groundwater can be affected by polluted surface water. Groundwater is used for drinking water supply and by industry. Pumping too much groundwater can cause rivers to dry up and the level of lakes to fall unacceptably low. Near the coast, over abstraction can cause salt water to move into the aquifer rocks reducing the quality of the freshwater.



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