Groundwater

Groundwater is water that comes from the ground. Sounds easy, doesn't it? Amazingly, many people use groundwater but don't even know it. In fact, half of everyone in the United States drinks groundwater everyday! Groundwater is even used to irrigate crops that grow food for tonight's dinner.

 
 

Lompoc’s water comes from underground where water is stored in aquifers. There are nine wells that pump the water to the water treatment plant before it is delivered to homes and businesses.

What is groundwater?

Where does groundwater come from? Groundwater comes from rain, snow, sleet, and hail that soaks into the ground. The water moves down into the ground because of gravity, passing between particles of soil, sand, gravel, or rock until it reaches a depth where the ground is filled, or saturated, with water. The area that is filled with water is called the saturated zone and the top of this zone is called the water table. Makes sense, doesn't it? The top of the water is a table! The water table may be very near the ground's surface or it may be hundreds of feet below.

 

Think about this: have you ever dug a hole in sand next to an ocean or lake? What happens? As you're digging, you eventually reach water, right? That water is groundwater. The water in lakes, rivers, or oceans is called surface water...it's on the surface.

Groundwater and surface water sometimes trade places. Groundwater can move through the ground and into a lake or stream. Water in a lake can soak down into the ground and become groundwater.

Groundwater is stored in the ground in materials like gravel or sand. It's kind of like the earth is a big sponge holding all that water. Water can also move through rock formations like sandstone or through cracks in rocks.

An area that holds a lot of water, which can be pumped up with a well, is called an aquifer. Wells pump groundwater from the aquifer and then pipes deliver the water to cities, houses in the country, or to crops.

 
 

For the classroom: The City of Lompoc water division offers classroom presentations for your class. The presentations include the water cycle, water conservation, our water supply and groundwater. Each presentation is developed to be grade level appropriate.

For your organization: A water ‘specialist’ is available for a presentation that is of interest to your organization.

Call 875-8252 to arrange for a classroom or group presentation.

City of Lompoc - 100 Civic Center Plaza - Lompoc, CA 93436 - (805) 736-1261 - © 2011