DNR Highlights The Importance Of Protecting Groundwater
A DNR employee tests a well at the Stonefield historic site in Cassville. / Photo Credit: Benji Pierson/Wisconsin DNR
MADISON, Wis. – The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is highlighting the importance of the responsible development, management and use of groundwater in recognition of National Groundwater Water Week, March 5-11.
Groundwater is a vital resource in Wisconsin, with approximately 70% of Wisconsinites relying on groundwater as their primary source of drinking water. Wisconsin’s groundwater also plays a critical role in supporting the state’s agricultural and tourism economy – irrigating crops, watering cattle, processing various foods, or feeding trout streams and spring-fed lakes. All of this is made possible by the professionals that are key to the responsible protection and management of groundwater.
These groundwater professionals span a wide variety of careers and skills, including well contractors, hydrogeologists, groundwater policy advocates and suppliers, and manufacturers of groundwater technology. DNR groundwater professionals work to ensure safe groundwater is available now and in the future by developing, managing and using groundwater responsibly statewide.
While groundwater professionals are crucial to protecting Wisconsin’s groundwater, Wisconsinites can also do their part by taking action in their own lives. Here are some ways that everyone can protect and conserve groundwater:
- Yearly water well testing and well maintenance: Private well owners should test their well water at least once a year, tend to any maintenance needs, and treat their water if necessary.
- Reduce chemical use: Use fewer chemicals around the house and outside, and dispose of them properly.
- Manage waste: Properly dispose of potentially toxic substances like unused chemicals, pharmaceuticals, paint, motor oil, and other substances.
- Recycle properly: Properly recycling paper, plastic, cardboard, glass, aluminum and other materials can help prevent potential groundwater contamination.
- Plant native plants: When landscaping, prioritize native plants. They look great and don’t need much water or fertilizer. When choosing grass, varieties adapted to Wisconsin’s climate can reduce the need for extensive watering or chemical applications.
- Use water wisely: Don’t let the water run unnecessarily, fix any leaks, take shorter showers, only run full loads of dishes or clothes, water the lawn and plants during the coolest part of the day and only when they need it, and obey any watering restrictions during dry periods.
To learn more, visit the DNR Groundwater webpage or the Groundwater Coordinating Council’s story map, Wisconsin’s Buried Treasure is Worth Protecting.
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