Ancient Water is in Your Glass
Water takes many paths as it moves continuously over and under the earth's surface through the water cycle. We can easily see surface water (streams, lakes, rivers). But equally important is groundwater - water we can't see. Groundwater is part of the drainage system that maintains our supply of water in streams, lakes and wetlands and is a vital source of water for Arizona.
Groundwater begins as rain and snowmelt moving downhill as surface water runoff. Some water seeps int the ground, filling in air spaces. Aquifers are natural underground reservoirs that hold groundwater like sponges.
Another water source is reclaimed water. Reclaimed water is recycled - used multiple times and treated between uses to maintain quality. Aquifers can be filled or recharged by injecting reclaimed water or allowing it to sink into the ground, using earth as a natural filter. This "banking" stores water for future use and is a critical source in times of drought.
Ancient waters have been found deep in underground aquifers. These aquifers hold waters that may have been deposited during the last ice age.
Terms depicted in signage:
Precipitation (rain and snow)
Groundwater (rock and soil saturated with water)
Impervious Rock (below groundwater)
Evaporation (surface water changes to vapor)
Transpiration (evaporation of water from plants)
Condensation (cloud formation)
Groundwater and surface water are closely connected. Activities far away can affect water quality and quantity.
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