Overlooked for many years, groundwater has taken the driver’s seat in 2022, as multiple organizations promote a deeper understanding of the source of drinking water for 145 million Americans and approximately 4.5 million Michiganders. Promotion this week comes from the Groundwater Foundation and National Ground Water Association as they encourage their constituents and the general public to observe National Groundwater Awareness Week. The two organizations call attention to “the responsible development, management, and use of groundwater. The event is also a platform to encourage yearly water well testing and well maintenance, and the promotion of policies impacting groundwater quality and supply.”
What’s the natural resource that is critical to the survival of billions of human beings but invisible to the vast majority of them? The answer is groundwater, both in Michigan and globally. Out of sight but not detached from our economy and health, groundwater plays a critical role in Michigan communities, supplying 45 percent of Michigan’s population with drinking water. Yet groundwater is a neglected and much-abused part of our state’s natural endowment. This year, groundwater will be in the spotlight on the annual World Water Day, March 22.
Photo of Grand Traverse Bay by Jerry Stutzman By Liz Kirkwood Breaking News: The Traverse City Commission on December 6, 2021, unanimously approved a Resolution Proclaiming Water and Sanitation as Basic Human Rights, and that Water Shall Remain in the Public Trust. The resolution was advanced by FLOW and in comments to the City Commission,… Read more »
While world leaders gather for a second week in Glasgow, Scotland, at the United Nation’s COP26 climate change conference, FLOW’s Jim Olson in this blog calls for a new approach to planning and zoning in the Great Lakes watershed that respects the increasing variability of water levels.
Water for All of Michigan (WFAM) partners—Clean Water Action, FLOW, People’s Water Board Coalition, and the Sierra Club—have united to identify, analyze, and advance financing and funding options and policies for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure that prioritize equity, end shutoffs of residential drinking water in metropolitan Detroit, Flint, Benton Harbor, and beyond, and protect Michigan’s… Read more »
For over three years, FLOW has analyzed and reported on one of the biggest gaps in Michigan’s environmental protection safety net—groundwater protection. Now, during National Groundwater Awareness Week 2021, we are reaffirming and expanding upon our call for stronger state groundwater protection policies and actions. We’re also releasing our new report, “Deep Threats to Our Sixth Great Lake.”
Out of sight and therefore out of mind, Michigan’s groundwater faces deep threats, including contamination in thousands of places by everything from failing septic systems to industrial chemicals. A Zoom webinar hosted by FLOW on Wednesday, March 10, from noon to 1 p.m. EST, will provide insight and commentary on the state of Michigan’s groundwater and what can be done to better protect the source of drinking water for 45% of Michigan’s population. In addition, invited speakers will make presentations on other critical issues related to groundwater quality and quantity. Click here to register.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday released a proposed state budget for the fiscal year starting October 1 that includes $385 million in new funding for clean water priorities, as well as funding for emergency contaminated site cleanup and energy projects. “The Governor’s budget would make some significant investments in Michigan’s vital water resources,” said Liz… Read more »
It’s natural to stand on the shoreline of one of the Great Lakes and admire their vastness and majesty. But another abundant water resource in the basin is out of sight and rarely commands such appreciation. That’s groundwater. Between 20-40 percent of the water budget of the lakes (the total water flowing in and out of the system) originates as groundwater. Without this unseen water, the Great Lakes would be dramatically different from those we know. Strengthening public appreciation of and public policy protecting groundwater is a fundamental part of Great Lakes stewardship.
The COVID-19 pandemic that has so overwhelmed us all for these past many months has made me draw inward, wanting to protect the waters and all things of natural beauty just for myself, writes FLOW supporter and author Jerry Beasley in his essay, “A Matter of Reverence.”