Groundwater Use & Availability


Groundwater AvailabilityGroundwater is a renewable, yet finite, resource—and it is usually taken for granted. It is generally pumped from the subsurface in the absence of a sound understanding of how much remains available for sustainable use. Over withdrawal of groundwater supplies can lead to dried-up wells and springs, shrinking wetlands, reduced stream flows and lake levels, saltwater intrusion in coastal areas, and land subsidence. These impacts have serious economic ramifications, which are only worsened when coupled with drought conditions. Unless we employ more effective ways to manage the way we use groundwater, current practices of withdrawing groundwater at unsustainable rates will ultimately have significant social, economic, and ecological costs.
Our land-use decisions and water-use policies must consider the interrelationship between groundwater and surface water supplies and the capacity of individual watersheds to sustain existing, as well as future, water uses. To ensure the long-term availability of water and aquifer yields, we as a nation must use water more efficiently and better tailor our land- and water-use planning to effectively bridge the gap between water law and science.


Why Ground Water Use and Availability Matters

Potable fresh water is fast becoming a highly sought-after commodity—it is being called “blue gold.” Yet the fact that all the water we have right now is all the water we will ever have is not reflected in our demand for and use of water. As a nation, we can no longer put off the job of answering the essential and definitive questions of supply and demand: Will we have enough water, and what will it cost?

From the Ground Water Report to the Nation

Groundwater Use and Availability - Summary Sheet : Full Chapter

Additional Reading


IN OUR OPINION Stormwater - A Beneficial Resource or a Contaminant: Infiltrate With Caution

Stormwater is a valuable resource that, with proper infiltration, can provide new groundwater resour...

Online Program: Empowering Youth for Water Security

The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs...


09/12/2023 – 09/14/2023
Tampa, Florida, Westshore Grand Hotel

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Ground Water Report to the Nation

Our groundwater resources are in serious need of attention. Abundant, high quality, low-cost groundwater resources are fundamental to the long-term growth and vitality of our nation, yet this most important resource is often overlooked, if not neglected. Attention to the protection and management of groundwater has consistently lagged behind that given to surface waters, meaning that historic and current water resource laws and policies deal primarily with the protection and management of our more visible lakes, rivers, and wetlands.The purpose of the Ground Water Report to the Nation is to highlight some of the more prevalent threats to groundwater, share sucess stories, and make recommendations for improved groundwater protection and awareness.  Note: Please visit the Ground Water Report to the Nation topics page for individual chapters of the report.


Alternative Water Supplies

Alternative Water Supplies section of the Groundwater Report to the Nation

Work Groups

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Comments on Proposed Clean Water Act Hazardous Substance Worst Case Discharge Planning Regulations

The Ground Water Protection Council ( appreciates the opportunity to providecomments and feedback to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the proposed changes to 40 CFR Parts 118 and 300. The following comments are intended to broadly address this proposed rule interpretation, but do not necessarily reflect the individual GWPC member state positions or all of their concerns.


Comments on EPA’s Draft National Water Program Guidance 2018-2019, Publication Number 800D17001

The Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) provided comments on the draft National Water Program Guidance for 2018-2019.


Comments on Proposed USDA Forest Service Directive on Groundwater Resource Management

GWPC recognizes the emphasis in this document on working with states. We feel that collaboration and cooperation with the States is necessary for US Forest Service (USFS) to achieve the vision, goals, strategies, and actions set out within the Groundwater Directive for UIC activities. Recognizing that USFS is not authorized to implement the UIC program under the Safe Drinking Water Act and thus does not have the regulatory authority necessary to carry out some of the provision of the directive, our specific comments provide information on how and when USFS can work within the existing UIC regulatory framework administered by US Environment Protection Agency (USEPA) and the delegated states to ensure all applicable UIC authorizations and permits have been issued by the appropriate regulatory authority.