Groundwater and Wellhead Protection
You could call it buried treasure. Groundwater, water stored in the pore spaces between soil particles or in cracks in the bedrock, is a valuable resource. But because it is underground, where we cannot see it, it is little understood, often taken for granted, and vulnerable to what happens above the ground surface.
Groundwater is an important part of the earth's hydrologic cycle. When snow and rain falls, much of it is captured, before even reaching the ground, by the leaves of trees and other plants. This is called interception. Much of this water is re-released to the atmosphere as evapotranspiration. Some of the water that reaches the ground flows to nearby lakes or streams as overland runoff, some sinks into the soil (infiltration). The water that enters the soils and is not taken up by plants continues to flow downward until it reaches the point where all the spaces between the soil particles are saturated (the water table) and is stored as groundwater.