Land Use

Overview

Groundwater is an increasingly important resource for urban and rural potable water supply, irrigated agriculture, and industry, in addition to its natural environmental role of sustaining river flows and aquatic ecosystems. But major changes in land use that impact groundwater are taking place, as a consequence of population growth, increasing and changing food demands, and expanding biofuel cultivation. The link between land use and groundwater has long been recognized but has not been widely translated into integrated policies and practices. Sharply focused land-use management measures can produce significant groundwater quality and quantity benefits at relatively modest cost and improving integrated governance will be crucial to ensuring an acceptable harvest of both food and groundwater from the available land. 
Land-use planning and development decisions must routinely take into account such factors as the location, quality, yield, vulnerability, and recharge potential of aquifers and the projected availability of water for the long term. To be truly effective, this information must be incorporated into local comprehensive plans and policies. Fortunately, there is a growing body of land-use tools that provide effective ways to protect groundwater and the environment, as a whole, and to maintain and improve our quality of life. But it is essential that local decision makers have access to these tools and that they apply them to land-use planning, zoning, and land acquisition decisions. When they do this, they can effectively protect and sustain their local groundwater resources.

 

wisconsin use

Why Land Use Matters to Groundwater

Land-use management measures can produce significant groundwater quality and quantity benefits at relatively modest cost and improving integrated governance will be crucial to ensuring an acceptable harvest of both food and groundwater from the available land. Each time the use of a land area changes, it can affect the hydrologic makeup of the landscape. Highways, shopping centers, housing developments, industrial sites, businesses, agricultural operations, golf courses, feedlots, waste disposal sites, airports, ski slopes, and sewer systems (to name a few) have the potential to directly or indirectly impact the quantity or quality of both groundwater and surface water.

From the Ground Water Report to the Nation

Land Use - Summary Sheet : Full Chapter

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02/2017

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.

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