How Much Ground Water Is There?

ground water pump Nearly all of us depend on ground water for our everyday needs, but how much is there, and how quickly does it recharge? Of all the volumes of fresh and unfrozen water…ground water is the greatest. This is the water that sits between the grains of sand, sandwiched by layers of clay, and flows through cracks in the rocks.

It’s Called Groundwater.

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New research has shown that the global volume of ground water is huge. More than 99% of all fresh  and  unfrozen water on Earth is ground water. Consider , that if we were to extract all the water from the ground and pool it on top like a flood, it would be 180 meters deep over all the continents.groundwater 3


At issue is the length of time rain and melting snow takes to recharge this resource in a human time scale. The new research has shown that only less than 6% of global ground water is replenished in a single human life time, and is renewed greatest in areas of high rainfall and mountains. Many on the planet depend on groundwater for their livelihoods, but live in areas where the renewal rates are slow or not existent.

There are a few implications we need to consider…

We know groundwater is an important resource, and we need to determinate how to manage it best.

Groundwater is vulnerable to pollution and climate change. Changing weather patterns are likely to impact renewal rates in many regions.

A great many of us depend on groundwater for drinking, growing food, produce energy, and to manufacture building materials. Rivers and lakes depend on it.

California’s Drought: Groundwater At Risk

Ground water a resource that needs our attention.



this blog is based on an article in Water Canada Jan/Feb 2016, Ground Control, by Scott Jasechko and Tom Gibson.


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