Artificial sweeteners in groundwater indicate contamination from septic systems

Artificial sweeteners in groundwater indicate contamination from septic systems

November 7, 2017
University of Waterloo
The presence of artificial sweeteners in rural groundwater shows evidence for contamination by local septic system wastewater, researchers have found.
Domestic well water is monitored with a portable water quality meter prior to sampling for chemical analyses.
Credit: John Spoelstra

The presence of artificial sweeteners in rural groundwater shows evidence for contamination by local septic system wastewater, researchers from the University of Waterloo have found.

The study, which appears in the Journal of Environmental Quality, describes how the researchers tested private, rural groundwater wells in the Nottawasaga River Watershed for four artificial sweeteners as a way to detect groundwater impacted by human wastewater being released by septic systems in the area.

Artificial sweeteners are ideal human wastewater tracers as they exit the human body essentially unchanged and are not completely removed by most wastewater treatment processes. Human wastewater contains relatively high concentrations of artificial sweeteners.

“Although the four artificial sweeteners we measured are all approved for human consumption by Health Canada, it is the other septic contaminants that might also be present in the water that could pose a health risk,” said John Spoelstra, first author on the study and an adjunct professor in earth and environmental sciences at Waterloo. “As for groundwater entering rivers and lakes, the effect of artificial sweeteners on most aquatic organisms is unknown.”

Among other contaminants, septic effluent can contain bacteria such as E. coli, viruses, pharmaceuticals, personal care products and elevated levels of nitrate and ammonium.

In conducting the study, the researchers found that more than 30 per cent of samples analyzed from 59 private wells show detectable levels of at least one of four artificial sweeteners, indicating the presence of human wastewater. Estimates reveal between 3 and 13 per cent of wells could contain at least 1 per cent septic effluent.

The team also tested groundwater seeping out of the banks of the Nottawasaga River and found 32 per cent of their samples tested positive for sweeteners. Again, this indicates that some of the groundwater entering the Nottawasaga River has been affected by septic system effluent.

Septic tank systems are commonly used in rural areas where homes are not connected to a municipal sewer system. The system provides primary treatment by removing solids before the effluent is discharged to a septic drain field where further treatment occurs.

Previous studies by the same group revealed the presence of artificial sweeteners in the Grand River as well as in treated drinking water sourced from the river.

“We were not really surprised by the most recent results given what we’ve found in past studies,” said Spoelstra, also a Research Scientist with Environment and Climate Change Canada. “Septic systems are designed to discharge effluent to groundwater as part of the wastewater treatment process. Therefore, contamination of the shallow groundwater is a common problem when it comes to septic systems.”

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Materials provided by University of WaterlooNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. John Spoelstra, Natalie D. Senger, Sherry L. Schiff. Artificial Sweeteners Reveal Septic System Effluent in Rural GroundwaterJournal of Environment Quality, 2017; 0 (0): 0 DOI: 10.2134/jeq2017.06.0233

Cleaner water with nanoparticles: Toxic metals such as cadmium can be removed from freshwater safely with this innovative application

Cleaner water with nanoparticles: Toxic metals such as cadmium can be removed from freshwater safely with this innovative application

Friday, November 03, 2017 by 

Nanotechnology has a multitude of environmental uses, and researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara have discovered another one. They found that sulfurized nano-zero-valent iron (FeSSi) could be used to remove cadmium toxicity from freshwater.

According to, the researchers came to this conclusion after simulating a rain event that washed toxic soil materials into a waterway. Specifically, they dosed Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a type of single-celled freshwater alga, with cadmium-infused FeSSi. They then took measurements after waiting for an hour.

The researchers noted that the FeSSi particles removed well over 80 percent of the water-based cadmium within the hour. Although effective, the FeSSi particles turned out to be several times more toxic after exposure to cadmium. Fortunately, the freshwater alga provided the assistance that the FeSSi articles required.

The researchers found that organic material produced by the alga following photosynthesis greatly diminished the toxicity of the FeSSi particles. Moreover, the organic material supported the nanoparticles’ remediating action on cadmium by up to four times more than when alga-derived organic material is absent.

“The organic material makes the FeSSi particle less toxic, which allows a greater zone of remediation and increases the cadmium concentrations that can be used,” said lead author and postdoctoral scholar Louise Stevenson. “That’s interesting because every natural system contains some organic material.

“Along with the toxic effect of the nanoparticles just on cell viability, we identified an important feedback between organic materials produced by the algae itself decreasing toxicity, which decreases toxicity to the algae.” (Related: Antibacterial book made from nanoparticles of silver and copper cleans water in Third World.)

Their findings, which have been published in ACS Nano, come as a welcome advancement. Cadmium, a naturally occurring heavy metal primarily used for metal plating and coating, is a highly dangerous toxic chemical with various negative health and environmental effects.

Short-term exposure to cadmium can result in such digestive issues as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The liver and kidneys can be affected as well, as cadmium in drinking water has been linked to liver injury and renal failure. Meanwhile, lifetime exposure to cadmium has the potential to cause severe damage to the kidneys, liver, bones, and blood.

These effects have been noted in organisms from both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Cadmium has a tendency to bioaccumulate, as constant exposure to this heavy metal has led to it building up in the kidneys and livers of birds and mammals. Algae and plant life aren’t safe from the effects of cadmium either, as they can store cadmium as well and poison the animals that rely on them for food.

And though cadmium may not be the only heavy metal that could seep into water, the work done by Stevenson and her colleagues is nothing short of encouraging. The impact of nanotechnology on the environment is context specific, making it all the more vital to test the potential of nanotechnology under a wide spectrum of conditions.

As Stevenson explained it: “We’re developing new technology faster than we can predict its environmental impact. That makes it very important to design experiments that are ecologically and environmentally relevant but also get at dynamics that can be extrapolated to other systems.”

Visit to remain updated on news and breakthroughs relating to the environment.

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Water sources compared: Tap, bottled, filtered, spring water, reverse osmosis and more

Water sources compared: Tap, bottled, filtered, spring water, reverse osmosis and more

Friday, October 20, 2017 by 

Are you a water snob? Given the state of water options today and their negative impact on the body, it may be a good idea to become a bit more discerning about the source of your drinking water.

Sure, your city, region, or municipality may have assured you that your drinking water is clean and fit for consumption and they may whole-heartedly believe that, but let’s face it, they are not exactly experts in how their “clean” water affects the vitality of the human body. In fact, most of them probably have NO idea that your body is estimated to be made up of 70 percent water, and physiological functions absolutely rely on pure water for proper function (including your brain).

So, it’s not exactly something you want to screw up. Yet millions are doing so everyday in North America, to the detriment of their body and brain.

Let’s nip that in the bud now. Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly (in reverse order) of water sources today.

Tap water

Hopefully by this point you have discovered that the public water supply is the farthest thing from healthy drinking water. Fraught with various toxins and contaminants like fluoride, chlorine, heavy metals (lead, mercury, aluminum), medication residue, insecticides, herbicides, and PFASs (Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances from industrial sites), this water systematically destroys your body and brain.

These contaminants can result in lowered IQ, thyroid issues, behavioral problems, fatigue, weakness, increased cavities, bone fractures, and allergies just to name a few.

Not only is this water heavily contaminated, it is also “dead” water, meaning there are virtually no minerals left in it.

This is why tap water gets a big fat F rating and would be considered part of the “ugly” category.

Plastic bottled water

Bottled water took off as we became more aware of the importance of hydrating ourselves regularly, and didn’t want the inconvenience of carrying our own supply. However, like most man-made projects, there is a sinister component that does not make this a reliable option.

First of all, many popular brands of bottled water have been found to actually get their water from public or municipal water sources, which automatically puts those brands in the tap water category. Secondly, due to poorly cured plastics being used to fill these bottles with municipal tap water, you end up with another formidable toxin, xenoestrogens, which are known to artificially raise estrogen levels which can eventually lead to fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, and some cancers.

As a result of these toxins, the pH of these plastic bottled waters come in quite acidic (6-6.5) states. When sourcing good water, the pH should be between approximately 7.2 – 8.5 pH. High quality bottled waters (often in glass) taken from natural springs are usually within these values and can be considered quality sources. Be careful though – labeling is tricky and many claim it’s “spring water” when it really isn’t. To get an example of a bottled water that is truly sourced from springs, check out Poland Springs water.

For the majority of the plastic bottled waters containing tap water and swimming in xenoestrogens, you get an F rating as well. For those with real spring water but in plastic, you get a C. Natural spring water in glass bottles, you move to the head of the glass – you get an A!

Distilled water

Distilled water is an acceptable approach to getting your hands on clean water, but certainly has its drawbacks. Since it is more acidic due to the lack of minerals, it certainly is not one of your best options, unless you have no access to efficient filtration systems.

If you do drink distilled water, make sure to add some minerals back into it by adding a pinch of high quality Himalayan sea salt, or these mineral drops.

Drinking distilled water with no modifications gets a C+ rating, as at least it is devoid of contaminants. Adding in minerals, you can move up to a B+.

Reverse osmosis water

This water system has become very popular, and like distilled water it is certainly a nice option to avoid contaminants. However, like distilled water, it removes any naturally occurring minerals so becomes the “white flour” of water. It can also be considered dead water. However, adding in minerals as stated earlier will help offset that issue.

Again, for reasons noted with distilled water, reverse osmosis water with no modifications gets a C+, but adding in minerals will get you a B+.

Spring water

When collected from an inspected source that shows it’s fit for human consumption, spring water is undoubtedly the best source of water on the planet. Spring water is what all other systems are trying to copy, due to it being “alive”, mineralizing, full of oxygen, and especially hydrating (due to bioavailability). These springs will often register a pH between 7.4 and 8.5.

Getting raw spring water can definitely be a challenge though, depending on your location, so this makes it not a viable option for many people who don’t want to travel several hours or across the country to get it. To see if you have a spring near you, check out

Since pure spring water is the best source of water on the planet, it gets an A+!

Filtered water

Filtered water has been a thing for many decades now, but as is usually the case, not all filters are created equal. In fact, many of the most popular brands of water filters, like Brita and Culligan, have very weak performance when filtering out contaminants like aluminum, copper, arsenic, strontium, cadmium, cesium, mercury, lead, and uranium. You can get access to the water filters we tested and the results, here.

Now, when you get a filtration system that properly removes a wide variety of contaminants, and doesn’t strip out all the minerals, then you’re onto a great water filtration system. This way, you get rid of the toxic burden in your water supply, while keeping some of the mineralization intact. Since water filtration systems are widely available and can be shipped directly to your home, they make an excellent option if you don’t have access to natural spring water at the source.

Just be careful with using alkaline water systems, for these reasons.

Now, if you are in need of an exceptional water filtration system that outperforms ALL the others, get the Big Berkey System (no electricity required). The investment in a clean water supply that leaves minerals intact is one of the most important things you can do for your health! That’s why it gets an A!

Cheers to proper hydration!

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Big Ag is ruining ground water they don’t take: Excess nitrogen reaching dangerous levels, study finds

Big Ag is ruining what ground water they don’t take: Excess nitrogen reaching dangerous levels, study finds

Image: Big Ag is ruining what ground water they don’t take: Excess nitrogen reaching dangerous levels, study finds

(Natural News) A new study has revealed that big agriculture’s utilization of nitrogen can impact groundwater quality. A team of scientists from the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) and the Departments of Agroecology and Environmental Science at Aarhus University were able to conclude that when farmers apply more nitrogen to lands than their crops can absorb, the amount of nitrogen in the groundwater increases, negatively impacting freshwater quality and marine life, and contributing to algae blooms in marine waters.

The study, titled: “Groundwater nitrate response to sustainable nitrogen management,” was published in Scientific Reports, a journal from the publisher of Nature, on Tuesday, September 26.

The researchers made use of isotope-based measurements in oxic Danish groundwater from a period of over 70 years (1940 to 2014) to study the nitrogen sustainability of intensive agricultural nitrogen management in accordance to groundwater conservation and economic development.

The term oxic refers to the presence of oxygen in the groundwater, which is normal in the case of groundwater containing geologic layers. Aside from the nitrate measurement, the researchers also measured the age of the groundwater at the monitoring points.

In Denmark, nitrogen surplus is gauged on a yearly basis as the difference between agricultural nitrogen inputs and outputs on a national level – meaning, it is the amount of nitrogen that is not used and is therefore in danger of being lost to the environment.

Nitrogen surplus in Danish groundwater continually rose between the years 1946 and the mid-1980s. Steps towards environmental protection have since halted this trend while economic development proliferated, showing that almost 30 years of nitrogen regulation in Danish agriculture has led to an outright decline of nitrate concentration levels in oxic groundwater.

Measures to mitigate nitrogen levels in groundwater

Nitrogen reaches groundwater through fertilizer applications, manure, septic systems, among other human and natural sources. It goes through complex chemical transformations as it passes by interfaces between groundwater and surface water, including rivers and marine areas.

The amount of nitrogen discharging directly to marine shorelines is small as compared with the direct contamination found in rivers. (Related: Chemical fertilizers applied to crops will contaminate drinking water for decades.)

The agricultural sector has been adapting to societal demands to adjust agricultural production practices. There are many measures in place all over the world to prevent agricultural processes from causing harmful effects on aquatic environments. Such regulations typically rely heavily on four factors: right time, right source, right timing, and right placement. Being mindful of one’s own nitrogen footprint can also go a long way towards practicing nitrogen-sustainable behavior, such as reducing food wastage, lessening meat intake, and recycling.

“Understanding where nitrate removal is highest can inform management of agricultural streams. This information can help us improve water quality more effectively,” said State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry graduate student Molly Welsh.

In a separate study that was published in the Journal of Environmental Quality, Welsh and her colleagues found that the factors that can positively affect nitrate removal in streams include vegetation and soil type, fine sediment textures, dissolved carbon content, bank slope and height, time of year, and organic matter.

“Our results show that it may be possible to develop simple models to guide nitrogen management. However, more work is needed in terms of gathering and evaluating data. Then we can find the best parameters to include in these models,” Welsh said.

Read more stories such as this one at

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History of the Territory of Nevada

The Territory of Nevada was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 2, 1861, until October 31, 1864, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Nevada. Prior to the creation of the Nevada Territory, the area was part of western Utah Territory and was known as Washoe, after the native Washoe people. The separation of the territory from Utah was important to the federal government because of its political leanings, while the population itself was keen to be separated because of animosity (and sometimes violence) between non-Mormons in Nevada and Mormons from the rest of the Utah Territory.

A common misconception was that the Union needed Nevada’s silver for the war effort, but as a U.S. Territory, the U.S. could take it if they so needed.[citation needed] Another misconception that Nevada was rushed into statehood was due to the 1864 Election, in which Abraham Lincoln needed a few more sure votes in the Electoral College to be re-elected. With Fremont dropping out of the race, Lincoln’s margin of victory over McClellan was 212 to 21 so Nevada’s two electoral votes weren’t of consideration.[citation needed] It was once said[who?] that Nevada was not quite populous enough to warrant statehood. However, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 allowed a state to be admitted, ““Provided, the constitution and government so to be formed, shall be republican, and in conformity to the principles contained in these articles; and, so far as it can be consistent with the general interest of the confederacy, such admission shall be allowed at an earlier period, and when there may be a less number of free inhabitants in the State than sixty thousand.” The eastern boundary of Nevada Territory had been defined as the 116th meridian, but when gold discoveries were made to the east the Nevada territorial delegation to Congress requested the boundary moved to the 115th meridian, which Congress granted in 1862. The border was shifted further east, to the 114th meridian, in 1866, in part due to the discovery of more gold deposits. These eastward shifts took land away from Utah Territory. The southern border of Nevada Territory had been defined as the 37th parallel, but in 1866 Nevada asked Congress to move the border south to the Colorado River. Congress granted the request in 1867, giving Nevada all of the western end of Arizona Territory. Arizona strongly protested, but found little sympathy in Congress due in part to Arizona having aligned with the Confederacy during the Civil War.[1] The exact location of the due north-south California-Nevada border, between Lake Tahoe and the intersection of the southern boundary of Oregon at the 42nd parallel, was contentious and was surveyed and re-surveyed well into the 20th century.[2] Congress transferred some of the lands west of the Colorado River including Pah-Ute County, Arizona Territory to the State of Nevada on May 5, 1866. Part of this southern tip of Nevada was established as Clark County in 1909 and contains the city of Las Vegas. The territorial capital was moved from the provisional capital of Genoa to Carson City. James Warren Nye succeeded Isaac Roop, the first provisional territorial governor, and became the only territorial governor. The secretary of the territory was Orion Clemens, (older brother of Samuel Clemens, also known as Mark Twain), who more or less served as governor in Nye’s constant absence

Using Private Wells: A Drinking Water Safety Guide

Using Private Wells: A Drinking Water Safety Guide


Nearly one in seven Americans get their drinking water from private wells. Federal and state governments set legal limits for contaminants in public water systems, but those laws don’t cover private wells. If you’re one of the 44 million people relying on a private well for drinking water, here’s what you should know and do to make sure your water is safe.

Should I be worried about contamination in my well?

In 2009 the U.S. Geological Survey released a report based on studies of thousands of private domestic wells, finding that almost one-fourth contained contaminants – such as radioactive substances, metals or fluoride – at potentially harmful levels. Agricultural chemicals, such as fertilizer and pesticides, can also harm the groundwater that supplies most private wells. Public systems are required to treat water to lower the level of regulated contaminants, but private well owners are on their own.

Shouldn’t the government require testing of private wells?

Some states and localities require private well owners to test for arsenic or other contaminants during home construction and real estate deals. But there is no nationwide requirement for well owners to test their water. Well owners may not know their groundwater could be contaminated or how to test it. They may think it’s too expensive or just not think water contamination is anything to worry about.

recent analysis in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives called for universal testing for drinking water contaminants in well water. Researchers said states should require testing on new homes and for real estate deals that include private wells to raise awareness and community engagement on groundwater contamination. They also called for subsidies to help lower-income communities and well owners meet the cost of testing.

What contaminants are a concern in private wells? What are the health effects?

Substances found in groundwater and surrounding mineral deposits include:

  • Radioactive elements such as radium or uranium. Different types of radioactive elements are associated with different health effects, but all of them increase the risk of cancer. The latest research also finds that radioactive substances may damage the nervous, immune and endocrine systems.
  • Metals. Arsenic, a known carcinogen, is commonly found in groundwater, particularly in the West, Midwest and Northeast. The U.S. Geological Survey found that nearly 7 percent of private wells across the country have levels of arsenic above legal limits.
  • Fluoride. It occurs naturally in surface water and groundwater, and many public systems also add it to tap water. In 2015, the Public Health Service recommended no more than 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water. Exposure to high levels of fluoride causes tooth and bone damage in young children, and may increase risk of osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that if infant formula is mixed with water containing fluoride, the baby’s teeth might be affected by dental fluorosis, which appears as white spot markings on the teeth.

Groundwater contaminants from human sources include:

  • Nitrate, a fertilizer chemical, which frequently contaminates drinking water due to agricultural and urban runoff, and discharges from municipal wastewater treatment plants and septic tanks. Infants and children exposed to high levels of nitrate in drinking water may not get enough oxygen in their blood. Nitrate is also linked to increased risk of cancer and harm to developing fetuses.
  • Toxic pesticides, which commonly migrate into groundwater in agricultural areas.
  • Industrial products and wastes, which can contaminate groundwater from improper disposal, leaks from underground tanks, or leaching from landfills or waste dumps. Carcinogenic volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, can pollute private water wells near industrial sites or landfills.
  • Lead and copper, which can leach from pipes and plumbing fixtures due to the presence of corrosive compounds such as acids in groundwater. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes. If your water has a pH value of less than 7, or has other indicators of corrosive water, metals such as copper and lead can easily leach from pipes into water. To address this problem, private well owners can install a treatment system to balance the water’s chemistry.
  • Microbes such as bacteria, viruses and other parasites, which can contaminate wells from both natural and human-related activities. Water contaminated with infectious microbes can cause gastrointestinal illnesses, and in more severe cases, long-term infections may follow. This particularly affects private well owners who live near large animal feeding operations. Boiling water to kill microbes offers an immediate remedy, but in the long term, the only effective solutions are finding a new source of water, building a new well, or requiring polluters to prevent runoff of manure and other contaminants.

How can I find out what contaminants are in my well?

The only way is to have it tested by a certified laboratory. This Environmental Protection Agency website will help you find a certified lab in your state. Local health departments may also have programs to test private well water.

When should I have my water tested?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend regular mechanical maintenance and testing your well every spring. Regular testing is recommended because contaminant levels can change over time. You should also test your well:

  • Before you use it for the first time.
  • If someone in your household is pregnant or nursing.
  • If there are known problems with well water in your area.
  • If your household plumbing contains lead.
  • If there has been flooding or other land disturbances in your area.
  • After you repair any part of your well system.
  • If you notice changes in the taste, color or odor of your water.

What should I do if contaminants are detected?

Contact your local or state health department for more information and to discuss the test results. You can also compare your results to EWG’s Drinking Water Standards, which reflect the best and most current science about health risks of contaminants, instead of government regulations that are often based on political and economic compromises or outdated studies. In-home water treatment will remove some chemicals, but different types of devices remove different pollutants.

How can I keep my well safe?

  1. Have it tested annually. You don’t know what’s in the water if you don’t test.
  2. Remain aware of potential sources of contamination near your well, such as livestock operations, septic tanks or fuel spills.
  3. Practice regular maintenance of your well. Look each month for cracking, corrosion or a missing well cap. Keep records of testing and maintenance.
  4. Hire a certified well driller for any new construction or modifications.
  5. After a flood, have your well inspected and cleaned by a professional. Do not turn on the pump until after inspection.

Where can I find additional resources?

  • The EPA’s list of state resources and programs.
  • The EPA’s factsheet “Drinking Water from Household Wells.”
  • The CDC’s “Guide to Drinking Water Treatment Technologies for Household Use.”

Groundwater at Nye County Gold Mines Impacted By Cyanide Contamination


In doing some research we discovered the report that is featured below with a link. Note the mines in Nye county. The mission statement of the Nye county water district is to protect and preserve the water in Nye county . You will have to copy and paste the link in your browser to bring up the report or simply type into your search engine the name of the report.

The Track Record of Environmental ImpactsResulting from Pipeline SpillsAccidental Releases and Failure to
Capture and Treat Mine Impacted Water
U.S. Gold Mines
Spills & Failures Report


Climate change blamed for drying of Great Plains streams, but it’s actually caused by groundwater pumping for irrigation

Climate change blamed for drying of Great Plains streams, but it’s actually caused by groundwater pumping for irrigation

(Natural News) Streams and rivers in Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, and other parts of the central Great Plains are drying up as farmers continue to pump groundwater to irrigate their crops, a new study found.

Though climate change often gets blamed for turning creeks into dry riverbeds, the water needed to irrigate one sixth of the world’s grain production comes from the High Plains Aquifer, also known as the Ogallala Aquifer.

Irrigation of crops accounts for 90 percent of the human global use of water. Groundwater from the High Plains Aquifer is the single greatest source of groundwater in North America and the lifeblood of  Great Plains agriculture. As farmers increasingly pump more water, nearby creeks and riverbeds are vanishing at a rapid pace. As their habitat diminishes, native fish species are disappearing too.

“What we’re losing are the fishes that require habitat found only in the rivers and large streams of the region, and replacing them with those that can survive in the small streams that are left,” said Fausch, a Colorado State University (CSU) professor. “We are losing whole populations of species from rivers in that region because there’s no habitat for them.”

Since the first surveys were done in the 1940s, seven of the 16 native fish species — including small minnows, suckers, and catfish — that were once found in the Arikaree River have disappeared.  Nonetheless, these fish are not among those that are currently federally endangered or threatened. Therefore, little regulatory authority is in place to preserve the habitats of these native fish.A finite resource of water that is not being recharged

The CSU researchers warned that these habitats and the fish populations will continue to shrink if pumping practices are not modified. According to Professor Fausch, about 350 miles of streams disappeared in eastern Colorado, southwest Nebraska, and northwest Kansas in a 60-year span. If nothing changes, the team’s models predicted another 180 miles could vanish by 2060.

Fausch noted their results are sobering, adding that if we keep pumping groundwater to feed a growing human population of more than 7 billion people, the Arikaree River in eastern Colorado, which used to flow about 70 miles, will dry up to about one-half mile by 2045.

As more water is being pumped out every year, only a small amount flows back into the aquifer from rain and snow. As reported by Science Daily, nearly as much water as what exists in Lake Erie, or about 100 trillion gallons, has been extracted from the aquifer since the 1950s and only a small amount has trickled back into the reservoir.

A grim future for the generations to come

If we don’t tackle the problem and keep pumping groundwater at this pace, farmers are not only thoughtlessly jeopardizing the streams and fish, but also the future of the next generation of farmers. Without the rivers and streams, these farmers will be unable to continue to work on the land. They will have no water for their cattle and the cottonwoods that provide shade, Fausch explained.

“They also lose the grass that grows in the riparian zone, which is critical forage for cattle in summer. Some of that’s your livelihood, but it’s also the place you go for picnics, and to hunt deer and turkeys. If you lose the river, you lose a major feature of what that landscape is,” he added.

While the future looks grim, Fausch said that there are some signs of progress. Meters are being installed on wells to ensure that farmers pump only the amount of water allowed under their permits. Furthermore, farmers are looking for ways to optimize their water usage with new technology to slow down the declining groundwater levels.

“When we lose these rivers, we will lose them for our lifetime, our children’s lifetime, and our grandchildren’s lifetime,” Fausch noted.

Video 6 – The final hookups, adjustments and completion of the well — Educational

Video 6…completing the hookups. We're done!

Posted by Dwight Lilly on Friday, July 28, 2017