Groundwater is defined as any water that manages to slip through the pores between particles of soil, sand, and rock and gather below the surface. Most of this water settles into some kind of natural cavern, fracture in the bedrock, or other opening that forms a water table. Since the water is already gathering on its own underground, some people don’t see the point of bringing it to the surface for storage. However, underground fractures and caverns for freshwater storage are less reliable than you might assume. There are many reasons to pump it to the surface and keep it in groundwater storage ponds.
Protection from Dissolved Minerals and Contaminants
As water falls on the surface of the Earth and filters through dozens of feet of soil and rock, it can dissolve a lot of minerals, metals, and other materials. Water that runs over the surface of the ground and then accumulates in a groundwater supply may also carry chemical contaminants as well. California’s water supply conundrum is a great example of this problem. The state is in desperate need of expanded water supplies to keep up with both human and agricultural demands. They have extensive groundwater supplies to tap, but the water is naturally high in toxic chromium that dissolves out of buried rock. Bringing this groundwater to the surface at least offers the opportunity for processing and treatment before it’s used.
Reduced Need for Energy Intensive Pumping
Once the groundwater is at the surface, it’s much easier to redirect with minimal or no energy use at all. Gravity fed water distribution systems help you deliver liquid wherever it’s needed without any extra energy usage. Even when pumps are necessary, they’re far more efficient when moving water across a level area with little to no lift needed. Many well pumps, tapping into groundwater supplies, must lift the water hundreds of feet to bring it to the surface. That energy intensive pumping can be handled when energy supplies are affordable and abundant, to reduce costs later during periods of higher demand.
Reduced Capacity of Natural Storage
Routine pumping of groundwater supplies can alter the natural storage features of existing caverns and rock fractures. Porosity often increases in response to pumping, resulting in rapid loss of the water that runs into the cavern in the future. In these cases, continued pumping is the best way to retrieve and store water in a less porous and more seep-resistant surface pond instead. If you’re dealing with a groundwater supply with reduced natural storage capacity, you can make up for the loss with manmade ponds.
Accurate Measurements of Supply
It’s not always easy to take accurate measurements of an underground aquifer or groundwater supply. Caverns and fractures can stretch out over several miles or only contain a few hundred gallons at a time. Pumping out water and measuring it along the way gives you a clear measurement of the available amount of water. When drought leads to water rationing and tight use controls, having a separate supply of groundwater that’s already measured will help you determine exactly how much you can use each day, week, and month.
Of course, these are only some of the many reasons to pump groundwater into a storage pond. Wondering if your ideas will work with a flexible liner product? Contact our team here at BTL Liners for answers to all of your liner questions.