Groundwater

"Water that fills voids, cracks, or other spaces between particles of clay, silt, sand, gravel or rock within a saturated zone or formation (aquifer) below the soil surface." (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, n.y.)

Sources

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. "A Glossary  of Water-Related Terms", by Brian Benham. Publication 442-759

Related Content

Article

How has space revolutionised subsidence?

Introduction

Land subsidence is a global phenomenon and is defined as:

“a gradual settling or sudden sinking of the Earth's surface due to removal or displacement of subsurface earth materials”  - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2021)

European Space Agency’s “Water Scarcity” Kick-Start

The challenge

Water is one of the most important substances on Earth and covers 70% of the planet. However, freshwater makes up a very small fraction with 97% being saline and ocean-based. While the amount of freshwater on the planet has remained fairly constant over time, the world’s population has exploded, meaning that freshwater is threatened by significant forces, like overdevelopment, polluted runoff, and global warming. 

Interview with Hannah Ritchie, PhD student in WASH at Cranfield University

Hannah has always had a love for the outdoors and especially for being by the sea. From her interest in both hydrogeology and development, developed during her undergraduate studies in geology and her travels respectively, she is now undertaking a PhD in WASH, researching water security in rural communities in Kenya. Hannah undertook a six-month internship with Space4Water at UNOOSA in 2021, where she developed her understanding of the importance and application of space-based technologies in the water sector. She believes that groundwater and sanitation are two areas where space technologies are currently under-exploited but in which they hold a lot of potential.

Call for local perspectives: Groundwater challenges

Local perspectives and case studies

The aim of the local perspectives and case studies feature is to learn about gaps in water resource management from affected individuals, communities, civil society, professionals, researchers or organisations in the field to identify needs or potential solutions that space technologies could contribute to.

Can space technologies help improve WASH provision in camps and informal settlements?

The Human Right to water and sanitation

What does your morning routine look like? For most readers I’d assume you use the toilet, wash your hands, and maybe take a shower.  However, do you ever stop to consider the water you use to shower, or the soap you use to wash your hands? Often, especially in developed countries, these things are taken for granted, rightly considering access to adequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) as basic Human Rights (Figure 1).

Space technologies in the detection, monitoring and management of groundwater

Global groundwater supplies

Groundwater accounts for 30% of Earth’s freshwater resources (Shiklomanov 1993) (Figure 1) and is estimated to globally provide 36% of potable water, 42% of irrigation water, and 24% of industrial water – indicating its significant value (Global Environment Facility 2021). Groundwater affords a host of benefits, from providing better protection against drought and microbiological contamination than surface waters, to being generally low cost and accessible to many users.

Interview with Prof. Hesham El-Askary

Prof. Hesham El-Askary works at Chapman University in the Earth Systems Science Data Solutions (ESsDs) lab. Here, he supervises students on the use of satellite earth observations for topics including agriculture, water resources, air quality and climate action, and makes use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). Prof. El-Askary is researching natural and anthropogenic pollution’s influence on the environment and is particularly interested in the concept of “glocal” impact—how what’s happening globally in terms of climate affects us locally. He believes that one of the biggest challenges in implementing sustainable water management is the lack of data to monitor progress, and advocates for space technologies to mitigates this shortage.  

Global Precipitation Mission: Improved, accurate and timely global precipitation information

Continuous and reliable global precipitation information is crucial for myriad of weather, climate and hydrological applications. The importance of precipitation in the form of rain, hail, sleet, snow etc. is known to science and clear to a layman. However, it’s quite tricky to measure past precipitation trends or predicting accurate future forecasts. There are three main categories of precipitation data sets available: ground based, satellite-based and blended products of ground and space data (Climate Data Guide, 2014).

Stakeholder

Deltares Stakeholder

Deltares

Deltares is an independent institute for applied research in the field of water, subsurface and infrastructure. Throughout the world, we work on smart solutions, innovations and applications for people, environment and society.

Deepwaters.ai Stakeholder

Deepwaters.ai

DeepWaters AI uses satellite data and AI to find underground drinking water and pipe leaks. It has created a map of the Earth’s underground water, with up to 98% accuracy. It was awarded a European Space Agency AI Kickstart contract in 2018. DeepWaters AI is supported by Esri, Amazon and Nvidia startup programs. It is a UK based social impact startup, that donates 51% of profits to water philanthropy. DeepWaters AI combines neural networks with ESA Sentinel 1 & 2 satellite data.

International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre

The International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC) facilitates and promotes international sharing of information and knowledge required for sustainable groundwater resources development and management worldwide. Since 2003, IGRAC provides an independent content and process support, focusing particularly on trans-boundary aquifer assessment and groundwater monitoring.

Rural Water Supply Network

The Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) is the global network for rural water supply professionals, with 11,000 members in more than 150 countries. RWSN is a strategic global platform for knowledge sharing and collaboration in the water sector with a central focus on the achievement of universal access to safe, affordable water supplies.

Event

Capacity Building and Training Material

ARSET - Groundwater Monitoring using Observations from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) Missions

Overview:

Groundwater makes up roughly 30% of global freshwater. It also provides drinking water for the world’s population, and irrigation for close to 1/3rd of global agricultural land. Because of this level of reliance, monitoring groundwater is crucial for water resources and land management. The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and GRACE-Follow On (GRACE-FO) missions from NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) provide large-scale terrestrial water storage estimation from mid-2000 to present.

ARSET - Water Resource Management Using NASA Earth Science Data Capacity Building and Training Material

ARSET - Water Resource Management Using NASA Earth Science Data

Overview:

This online course covers precipitation (rainfall and snow fraction), soil moisture, evapotranspiration, runoff and streamflow, groundwater, and lake level heights. Participants are introduced to a number of NASA data products.

Objective:

Participants will be able to use NASA remote sensing observations and land-atmosphere models to: 

Webinar: Groundwater for Water Security in Africa Capacity Building and Training Material

Webinar: Groundwater for Water Security in Africa

Overview

This webinar is meant to contribute to the AMCOW Pan African Groundwater Programme (APAGroP) and its various capacity building actions. The webinar is intended to support African Member States and other relevant stakeholders to develop and implement evidence-based groundwater policy and practice in Africa for improved lives and livelihoods. 

Introduction to Modflow and Model Use Capacity Building and Training Material

Introduction to Modflow and Model Use

This course provides basic knowledge about MODFLOW and Model Muse, which can be used to develop, run, and post-process models. MODFLOW in Model Muse combines many of the capabilities found in MODFLOW 6, MODFLOW-2005, MODFLOW-NWT, MODFLOW-USG, and MODFLOW-LGR, and provides a platform for adding packages.

Project / Mission / Initiative / Community Portal

Global Gravity-based Groundwater Product Project / Mission / Initiative / Community Portal

Global Gravity-based Groundwater Product

Groundwater is an essential factor for ecosystems and humanity alike. It ensures ecosystem stability, energy and food security, and promotes human health. Groundwater is the largest component of global liquid freshwater resources in the water cycle, providing about 30% of the total freshwater. Groundwater accounts for 33% of the global water withdrawals by mankind, with more than two billion people depending on groundwater as primary water resource. However, despite its importance, groundwater is often not included in sustainable water management actions and plans.