Recognizing that groundwater usage is more common than we think, we realized we had figured out a lot out about groundwater and were at a good point to put pieces together!
We know that the water deep in a well is clean enough to drink, and that the particles of earth above where the well is drilled are so packed together that only water seeps, or infiltrates through. We also recognized that special rocks, called aquifers, are rocks saturated with water and are actually located all over the US! The people who responded to us on Twitter mentioned they get their water from the ground, wells, or aquifers are highlighted on the map below. We realized that there's actually lots of aquifers all over the United States.
We still didn't really know how the aquifers continue to refill, especially in areas like Oklahoma or Texas that don't get a ton of rain annually. This video helps us see what infiltration really is, and how water continues to travel deep into the Earth over time, seeping in from bodies of water that may be close by or far away. We also saw how water can runoff surfaces. Also looking at a breakdown of groundwater vs. surface freshwater, we are seeing that there is WAYYYYYYYYYYYYY more groundwater than surface freshwater on the Earth.
Here in Chicago, we're fully aware that we have Lake Michigan near us and that we don't get our drinking water from aquifers, like many people across the US (and the world)! So if we wouldn't drink directly from Lake Michigan, what happens with the water from the lake before it reaches our homes and we use it for so many daily activities?