The United States Geological Survey (USGS) recently released a report which outlines the negative impact of groundwater pumping on the flow of water in connected streams and rivers, according to Water World.
The report – titled "Streamflow Depletion by Wells – Understanding and Managing the Effects of Groundwater Pumping on Streamflow" - acknowledges the positive benefits of groundwater development, particularly in providing safe drinking water to populations in rural settings. However, the research also notes that streamflow depletion by wells can have a substantial impact on local ecosystems. According to the news source, pumping wells capture groundwater that would have otherwise been discharged into nearby streams and rivers. By doing so, this diminishes the amount of fresh groundwater that should be replenishing natural bodies of water.
"Groundwater discharge is a critical part of flow in most streams – and the more we pump below the ground, the more we deplete water flowing down the stream," USGS Director Marcia McNutt told the news source. "When viewed over the long term, it is one big zero-sum game."
Other important findings in the report from the USGS include how streamflow depletion can affect water quality in the stream or in the aquifer, according to the news source. Reductions in groundwater discharge to streams as a result of groundwater pumping can substantially warm stream temperatures during the summer and cool stream temperatures in the winter. Doing so affects the ecosystem habitat of the body of water, and its drinking qualities.
Residents that live in an area where streamflow depletion might be a problem should consider investing in bottleless water coolers from Quench. The presence of a five-stage filtration system should deter most of the negative drinking water aspects of streamflow depletion.