Council urges Caucus to protect underground water supplies

A group representing state environmental regulators across the country told a congressional panel that current rates of water use are unsustainable and are already leading to critical shortages in some areas. In their presentation to the Congressional Water Caucus, the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) called for greater national emphasis and better funding to study and protect underground sources of water...

WASHINGTON, DC, July 9, 2008 -- A group representing state environmental regulators across the country today told a congressional panel that current rates of water use are unsustainable and are already leading to critical shortages in some areas. In their presentation to the Congressional Water Caucus, the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) called for greater national emphasis and better funding to study and protect underground sources of water.

"In many places across the nation, we are running our ground water budget at a deficit. Unless we can balance the budget by planning ahead, we are jeopardizing the future health and well-being of our citizens, our economy and our ecological systems," said Scott Kell, president of the Ground Water Protection Council and deputy chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. "We can't wait until the wells run dry before we start shepherding this finite resource."

The Congressional Water Caucus is studying what members consider to be one of the most important issues facing our nation: ensuring a dependable fresh water supply for all Americans for years to come. Ground water is the drinking water source for nearly half the population.

Signs of Distress
According to GWPC, there are plenty of warning signs that ground water is in trouble, painting a picture of a growing national problem with significant environmental and economic impacts.
-- The Ogallala (OH guh la la) Aquifer in the High Plains provides water to eight states from South Dakota to Texas and has been intensely tapped for irrigation since World War II. As a result, the water levels in this "bread basket of the nation" declined more than 100 feet in some areas.
-- Los Angeles' only local water supply, the San Fernando Valley aquifer, is contaminated with industrial solvents. The contamination is spreading, and pumping is severely restricted, forcing Los Angeles to import 90% of its water supply from outside sources.
-- In water-rich Florida, consequences of the overdraft include dried-up wells, reduced surface water levels, degraded water quality, saltwater intrusion in coastal wells and sinkholes.

GWPC is the national association of state ground water protection and underground injection control agencies.

To view the report "Ground Water Report to the Nation: A Call to Action" go to http://www.gwpc.org/calltoaction.

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