EcoTrack11: Officials to tell Congress to balance ground water budget

From a news release:

COLUMBUS, OH -- On July 9th, Ohio officials will join other state environmental regulators from across the country to brief representatives of the Congressional Water Caucus on the need to protect the country's ground water supply. As part of the national Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC), Scott Kell, deputy chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and Michael Baker, chief of the Division of Drinking and Ground Waters at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will present the "Ground Water Report to the Nation: A call to Action."

GWPC members will address shortages in some of the aquifers that underlie areas of the country as well as threats to the quality of those waters.  Their presentation will call for a greater national emphasis and better funding to study and protect underground sources of water.

"While Ohio is fortunate to be a water rich state, in many places across the nation, we are running our ground water budget at a deficit," said Scott Kell, President of the GWPC.   "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."


According to GWPC, an association of state ground water protection and underground injection control agencies, local warning signs that ground water is in trouble add up to a growing national problem with significant environmental and economic impacts.

In Ohio, about 40% of the population is reliant on ground water.  Approximately one billion gallons a year are used to meet the water needs of industry agriculture, commercial establishments and households. While Ohio is a State with abundant ground water resources, increased demand for water by communities and industries has resulted in local water usage conflicts.

"We have been tapping ground water for household, farm, business and community uses for centuries under the assumption that it will always be there for us," said Michael Baker, Chief of the Division of Drinking and Ground Waters with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and past-president of GWPC.  "We are learning that this is not the case, and if we don't do a better job of protecting and conserving our ground water, the consequences could be costly."

Water is also a vital part of the energy equation.  Each day, Americans use more water to turn on their lights and run appliances than they do to take showers and water their lawns.  According to GWPC, the severe strain on already overtaxed water supplies needs to be factored into energy policy decisions as the nation seeks to reduce its reliance on oil.  In 2006, the U.S. consumed roughly 5 billion gallons of biofuels, mostly ethanol, which equates to about 7.5 trillion gallons of water pumped largely from underground aquifers.

GWPC is calling on Congress to implement national ground water strategies to increase funding and national attention to ground water research and protection. These strategies would help coordinate local, state and federal agencies to monitor, analyze and steward ground water resources. GWPC will also ask the federal government to help state and local jurisdictions collect more information on ground water resources available for drinking water, industrial use and ecosystems.

Facts about ground water in Ohio

In Ohio, about 40 % of the population depends on ground water for its drinking water

The City of Dayton is the largest community in the country relying entirely on ground water for their source of public drinking water.

Source: Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency