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Fresh water is one of our most important natural resources because
it's needed for survival and there is no substitute for it. Unlike energy,
which has many alternative forms there are no alternatives for water. Most
of our earth is covered by water, but only a tiny amount is available for
fresh water. The amount of accessible fresh water varies from country to
country and region to region. The United States has abundant amount of
water, but many regions have shortages and this is where groundwater comes
in. Groundwater is very important to these parts of the world, it is used
for farming and drinking in these areas. Groundwater helps these area's
tremendously and has to be used in normal quantities as they are liable to
run out which causes many problems such as sinkholes, human displacement,
and for soil to be totally drained of water useless for agricultural
purposes. Even though tapping aquifers is a very practical idea it has
some set backs as it can have disaterous eff!
ects if polluted or over used.

Groundwater originates as water or melting snow that seeps into
the soil and finds it's way down through cracks and spaces in rock until
it is stopped by a impermeable layer of rock, where it forms as
groundwater. the porous layers of underground rock in which the
groundwater is stored are called aquifers. These
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aquifers can either be confined or unconfined. The aquifers that are
replaced by surface water directly above them are called unconfined.
Confined aquifers are water deposits that are stuck between two layers of
impermeable rock, this is sometimes called artesian wells. The water in
artesian well is under extreme pressure and is often the most popular
choice for wells as you can estimate the amount of water in them and be
very accurate.

There are many advantages to using groundwater for house water and
farming in many parts of the world. In a desert there are very few water
ways and this makes living here near impossible. With underground water
supplies you can access water which does not take up surface water which
takes up valuable farming land. In small countries this is particularly
important as the more area for farming the better.
When surface water such as rivers and lakes are used for house and
drinking water many lakes water levels are lowered to dangerously low
levels which could kill many types of animal species in these areas. The
water has an abundance of minerals in it which are lost when the water
level goes down which can not be leached into the soil from lakes and
rivers.
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When living in large metropolis areas such as Tucson, Miami,
Phoenix, and Memphis where there are not many lakes located in the middle
of the large cities and thus they have to get there water from somewhere
else. Without groundwater many cities in this area would not exist as
there is no fresh water sources nearby causing them to have to drill for
water.

The use of groundwater also helps nature as it helps in the
prevention of flooding. When area's need water they look to surface water
and if there is none they use groundwater. If there is not much water in
an area they will damn the water source and it will flood the land killing
many animals and there homes.
By using grroundwater they save animals homes and get good drinking water.

Groundwater also has it's problems. There may be more problems
than advantages as so much can happen if groundwater is used excessively.
When an aquifer is drained enough the earth around it will start to lose
it's support causing sinkholes. these can cause lot of damage to personal
property and endanger human life. In Winter park, Florida a sinkhole
occurred that was 400 hundred feet wide and 125 feet deep. Sinkholes can
happen in seconds and often have no warning to when they are going to
appear. Many regions that experience sinkholes

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do not feel the full effect of sinkholes. this is because the land sinks
over periods of time which most people can not detect but studies have
shown in the last 40 years in Texas have shown that lands on the Ogallala
aquifer have sunk of levels up to 21 m.

The overuse of an aquifer near coastal areas can cause salt water
intrusion which happens when a aquifer is depleted faster than it can
replenish itself, so water from the oceans filter into the systems. Salt
water intrusion happens in area such as Florida, Texas, Loiusiana, and
southern California