The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch: (202) 683-2500

New Food & Water Watch Report Calls for Improved National Data Collection on Groundwater Resources


Food & Water Watch, a national consumer advocacy group, today
released a report urging the federal government to ramp up its efforts
to collect data on groundwater quantity and quality throughout the
United States. The report, entitled, Unmeasured Danger: America's Hidden Groundwater Crisis,
highlights the inadequacies of collecting data on groundwater at the
local level and makes the case for why the federal government should
oversee and dedicate funds for research on this vital, yet diminishing

"At the heart of the matter is the fact that nobody knows exactly
how much groundwater we have," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director
of Food & Water Watch. "Laws governing the amount of water that can
be pumped from the ground vary from state-to-state, as do data
collection practices regarding the quantity and quality of existing
groundwater supplies. While the United States Geological Survey
collects regional groundwater data, at the current funding levels, it
would take 20 to 30 years to complete this research and by that time,
most of that information would be obsolete."

While groundwater accounts for 40 percent of our drinking and
agricultural water supply, it is rapidly diminishing in the U.S., where
28 trillion gallons of water are extracted from the ground every year.
In many areas, such as Tennessee, Texas, Massachusetts, Arizona,
Florida, and California, water is pumped faster than it can be
naturally restored, resulting in dwindling water levels in lakes and
streams, droughts, and sinkholes that often destabilize highways and
buildings. Further, as groundwater levels decrease, techniques to
extract existing supplies grow more invasive and energy-intensive.

"Unfortunately, many groundwater problems do not become apparent
until something terrible such as a sinkhole or a drought occurs. We
cannot wait for such catastrophes to take action on this critical
issue. Congress needs to appropriate funds to national groundwater
research efforts so we can enact policies on the state and national
level to preserve and protect groundwater supplies for future
generations," noted Hauter.

Unmeasured Danger: America's Hidden Groundwater Crisis is available online at:

Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people's health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.

(202) 683-2500