by Lisa Wallace, Executive Director

Good maps and graphics are so helpful in understanding the complexities of ecosystems – including groundwater.

Tom Gleeson (Montreal’s McGill University) and Ludovicus P. H. van Beek (Utrecht University) have just published a great one (click here) showing the health of aquifers.

Some of the aquifers have more rainfall (and snowmelt) flowing into them than is being pumped out of for use in homes or irrigating fields. As a result, these aquifers can continue to play a vital role in the environment. (Water in most aquifers doesn’t just sit there. It flows slowly, underground, and ends up sustaining rivers and lakes and all the creatures who live there.)

In the aquifers, the use of water is equal to their “groundwater footprint.”

But for some, the footprint and use are not equal. For example, the footprint of the Upper Ganges aquifer is 54 times bigger than the aquifer itself. Think about that footprint this way: It’s the area of land that would be required to catch enough rainfall to replenish that aquifer and make up for all the water currently being pumped out of it. Click here for more detail.

Our local aquifer doesn’t show on the map. But we will learn later this year about its health when the Martis Valley Groundwater Management Plan is completed. 

The Truckee River Watershed Council has been participating on the Stakeholder Working Group and we are looking forward to the final presentation later this year.