GROUNDWATER

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Groundwater is water found within the saturated or phreatic zone below the surface of the land. Such water exists in soil pores between sedimentary particles and in the fissures of more solid rocks.

As long as most of the precipitation that reaches the ground surface, is absorbed by the surface layers of the soil and the water that infiltrates into the soil may subsequently be evaporated, flow laterally close to the surface as through flow, or even percolate under gravity to the groundwater body, then that indicates that the groundwater resources may also be in danger of being polluted and contaminated also. One simply cannot see groundwater contamination with the human eye alone. It may seem clear, however, human activities above the ground surface may its quality.

Groundwater is of major importance to civilization, because it is the largest reserve of drinkable water in regions where humans can live, wide spread occurrence and its overall reliability. During dry periods it can also sustain the flow of surface water, and even where the latter is readily available; groundwater is often preferable because it tends to be less contaminated by wastes and organisms.

Groundwater is very importance and relevant in the sense that;

• It has a global withdrawal rate of about 600-700 cu km/year which makes it the world most extracted resource particularly in the semi urban and rural areas of developing countries in arid and semi arid regions

• It is the most important and safest source for drinking water

• In terms of volume, it is the most important component of the arctic terrestrial hydrological cycle accounting for about 33.3% or 1/3 of fresh water resource of the world.

• As many as 2 billion people depend on the aquifer for drinking water.

• 40% of the world food is produced from irrigated agriculture that relies on ground water.

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