Groundwater is important to every person, and there is something every person can do to be a good groundwater steward — that's the core message of the 2011 National Groundwater Awareness Week, March 6-12.



"Although groundwater is critically important everywhere, nowhere is it more important than in rural America," said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. "Groundwater is the lifeblood of our rural families and our agricultural economy."



Farm Bureau supports National Groundwater Awareness Week because of the vital importance of groundwater to farms and ranches for irrigation and because 96 percent of rural Americans depend on ground water for their water supply, according to Stallman.



"The question during National Groundwater Awareness Week is this: What will you do to preserve and protect groundwater?" Stallman said. "Many people doing a little can make a big difference in groundwater quality." For example, how individuals store, use and dispose of hazardous household substances or agricultural products can affect groundwater quality. In the same manner, whether homeowners and farmers regularly maintain their water wells and septic systems, or properly decommission abandoned wells can impact the groundwater that serves as someone's water supply. "This is not just a rural issue. Urban areas can consume large amounts of groundwater through public water systems, and heavily populated areas can do much to harm groundwater quality," Stallman said.

"It is to everyone's benefit to adjust their habits to protect groundwater."

National Groundwater Awareness Week is sponsored each year by the National Ground Water Association. NGWA's National Ground Water Awareness Week Web page http://www.ngwa.org/public/awarenessweek/index.aspx provides action steps people can take in two categories: groundwater protection and groundwater conservation.