Grounds for celebration - Groundwater recognised for World Water Day 2022

  • Published Date 22 Mar 2022
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  • News article topic Water

Today marks World Water Day, a global initiative celebrating water’s various forms with an aim to provide awareness towards those currently living without access to safe water.

This year’s form of focus is groundwater, water that has soaked into the soil, filling cracks and pore spaces, and ultimately creating an underground aquifer.

Ninety-six percent of the planet’s drinkable water supply sits within aquifers as groundwater.

Greater Wellington’s Senior Groundwater Scientist, Rebecca Morris, said groundwater is as important in the Wellington region, especially with its role in fulfilling two of our most basic human needs: food, and water.

“In Wellington City, particularly in summer, it’s the majority source of our drinking water.

“For the Ruamāhanga and Kāpiti Coast, it’s predominately (eighty to ninety five percent) for food production.

For Morris, groundwater is the iho of freshwater and that without it, freshwater would not have a pulse.

“In Aōtearoa, it supplies a significant portion of our waterbodies, including eighty percent of the baseflow of our rivers and streams, while nearly half (forty seven percent) of the region’s water supply is supplemented, through bores, by groundwater”.

“During summer when less rain falls, it also directly contributes to freshwater ecosystems like springs, lakes, and wetlands.

“Groundwater may be hidden and silent, but its inherent value simply through the supply of a natural resource, is incredibly visible both environmentally and for the health of our people”.

Agreeing with the sentiment, Penny Fairbrother, Senior Advisor for the Environment, said it spoke to the importance of a monitoring programme carried out by Greater Wellington.

“These intrinsic values highlight the need for a robust monitoring programme to ensure it doesn’t become contaminated or fall below a certain level, said Fairbrother.

“We monitor groundwater in over 67 wells across the region to ensure its staying healthy for the waterbodies above it, while also checking that sufficient levels are maintained for drinking water.

Whether it’s quenching our thirst, helping in the production of food, or supplying a much-needed top up to a river or stream, this World Water Day, there certainly are grounds for celebrating groundwater”, added Fairbrother.

World Water Day is on Tuesday 22 March and those interested in finding out more can visit the LAWA website for a nationwide analysis on the state of groundwater in recognition of the day.

Updated March 22, 2022 at 11:34 AM

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