The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Watershed Health Assessment Framework provides a comprehensive look at Minnesota's watershed and environmental information in the form of an interactive map. The map includes information on:
Groundwater is a critical component of the nation’s water resources. Globally, groundwater resources dwarf surface water supplies. Approximately 25 percent of the earth’s total freshwater supply is stored as groundwater, while less than 1% is stored in surface water resources, such as rivers, lakes, and soil moisture. The rest of the freshwater supply is locked away in polar ice and glaciers (Alley 1999a). Because groundwater is hidden, the resource is often forgotten or misunderstood. In fact, until 1984, courts in Ohio held groundwater movement “secret” and “occult” (Cline 1984).
All successful consulting groundwater professionals engage in business development. It usually means bringing in business, but it can also mean staying billable. In most cases it means a combination of both. Bringing in business requires selling services to prospective clients. Staying billable requires developing and maintaining good relations with those who do bring in the business. Most professional groundwater consulting firms follow a seller-doer model, requiring a balancing of bringing in business and doing billable work. Obviously, no one can be billable unless someone is bringing in business. Bringing in business has always been essential to the survival of any groundwater consulting firm, but doing so has become more difficult in the current recessionary environment. The focus of this paper is on the new skills required for a new economy. It is based on the results of an e-mail survey of more than 190 consulting groundwater professionals, telephone interviews with members of six groundwater consulting firms, a review of relevant literature, and our experience as management consultants working with design engineering firms that provide groundwater consulting services.
Agriculture requires a steady supply of water to meet crop and livestock requirements, linking food security directly to water security. Agriculture is the largest consumer of freshwater resources in the world. Some countries do not have sufficient supplies of surface water to meet their agricultural demands, so groundwater is extracted to compensate for the difference. In the United States, about 65% of groundwater withdrawals are for agricultural irrigation, which averages an estimated 50 billion gallons of water per day.
While groundwater is indispensable for energy production, the reverse is also true, as energy is required for groundwater withdrawal, treatment, and delivery. Groundwater and energy are, therefore, closely interconnected, so as the demand for energy increases, the demand for groundwater increases as well. Similarly, energy conservation is directly linked to water conservation, which is necessary to ensure a lasting groundwater supply for future generations. As the need for water continues to grow to meet the demands of a growing population, understanding the relationship between groundwater and energy will be essential for safeguarding continued delivery of energy and water to consumers.
Safe and reliable drinking water is essential for economic vitality and public health. Nearly every activity at some level in a community requires water for proper function—from homes, schools, and municipal services to commercial, industrial, and agricultural processes of production and waste treatment. The use of groundwater as a safe source of water supply has enabled communities to exist in locations without access to streams, lakes, or reservoirs. With increased population and economic activities that generate pollution, communities must be more vigilant in protecting their drinking water sources.
The disposal of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the subsurface via well injection, also known as geologic carbon sequestration or carbon capture and storage (CCS), is one of a portfolio of technologies under consideration as a viable approach to mitigating greenhouse gas buildup. Recognizing that this option for carbon capture holds great promise, it is important to understand it also has the potential to endanger underground sources of drinking water if proper safeguards are not taken.