Module 1 — Understanding Groundwater
For more information refer to
the Water Wells That Last video (Part I —
Planning and Construction).
Understanding Groundwater
Groundwater is a priceless resource lying beneath most of Alberta’s land surface. About
percent of rural Albertans rely on groundwater for a household water supply. Reliance
on groundwater continues to increase in rural Alberta because of the steady increase in
livestock populations and groundwater requirements for oil recovery purposes.
Because it is a “hidden” resource, groundwater is vulnerable to overuse and water
quality degradation. This module provides basic information about how groundwater occurs
below the ground surface that will help understand how to use and protect groundwater in a
manner that will ensure plentiful supplies ermain for future generations.
What is Groundwater
Groundwater is one component of the earth’s water cycle. The water cycle, called the
hydrologic cycle, involves the movement of water as water vapour, rain, snow, surface water
and groundwater. The earth’s water is constantly circulating from the earth’s surface up into
the atmosphere and back down again as precipitation (see Figure 1, Hydrologic Cycle).
Figure 1 Hydrologic Cycle