35GROUNDWATER; ISN'T IT GRAND?

Groundwater is a very important resource. It provides water for drinking, washing, farming, manufacturing and rivers. But for most of us, groundwater is a forgotten resource; misunderstood and under-appreciated.

Scientists use special terms to help tell the different types of water, and the different levels of earth apart. The water table is a level in the ground. Above the water table is the unsaturated zone. Here the spaces in the rock and soil contain air and water. This water is called soil moisture.

This diagram shows the difference between the Saturated and Unsaturated Zones.
This diagram shows the difference between the Saturated and Unsaturated Zones.
The area below the water table is called the saturated zone. Here, all crevices and cracks are filled with water called groundwater. Some parts of the saturated zone contain more water than others. An aquifer is an underground formation of permeable rock or loose material which can produce useful quantities of water when tapped by a well.

page 1 of 3 next page>