Why we need to be concerned about our groundwater
Groundwater is important to Geneva Lake and to the residents of the Geneva Lake area. Just how much of a role it plays in Geneva Lake’s annual water budget depends upon several variables. A recent groundwater modeling study found groundwater contributes 36% of the annual water coming into Geneva Lake.
Private and municipal wells that tap the groundwater in the Geneva Lake area supply most of the drinking water to Geneva Lake residents. Whether one lives in a community with a public water supply or lives in a rural area with a private well, the source of that water is groundwater. If the Geneva Lake area is to continue to offer a high quality of life, it will need to assure a quality and affordable water supply for Geneva Lake and its residents. To do so it will be necessary for the area residents and managers to have a better understanding of groundwater’s role and how to be meet that need.
The Geneva Lake Environmental Agency has an interest in advancing groundwater education to the Geneva Lake residents. Charged with the management of Geneva Lake, assuring a reliable supply of quality groundwater is vital to Geneva Lake’s future. Lake level, habitats, shoreline stabilization, recreational use and biological diversity all are dependent upon a relatively stable and predictable lake level. With such a significant role in the annual water supply to Geneva Lake, changes in groundwater quality or quantity can have a significant impact on what we now know and view as Geneva Lake.
The Linn Sanitary District has a keen interest in assuring a quality drinking water supply for its residents. With an equalized value of over $1.8 billion, a quality and reliable water supply for the Linn Sanitary District’s resident is an investment into the financial stability of the District, the Town of Linn and all Geneva Lake area residents. Being a rural area there is no central water supply or service. Thus maintenance and assurance of a quality drinking water supply for the residents of the Linn Sanitary District is their own responsibility. The proposed I & E program and well testing is designed to assists them in doing so.
All sanitary waste management in the Linn Sanitary District is conducted with on-site systems, be it a conventional septic system, a mound or other “advanced” on-site system or just a holding tank. The District recently completed an inspection program that included over 1,300 private on-site wastewater treatment systems (POWTS) within the District. The inspection program resulted in upgrading many older and failing systems to assure their proper functioning and groundwater protection. Included in the inspection program was an effort to educate POWTS’ owners about their systems’ care and maintenance.
This Groundwater I & E effort is a perfect follow up for better understanding the groundwater, its quality and its protection. The sampling of the wells will give each resident an idea of their drinking water quality while giving the District and the GLEA a data base of information on groundwater quality. This information will be vital for future management of groundwater, land use and POWTS.
DID YOU KNOW
- 99% of the water used in Walworth County comes from groundwater.
- The average person uses 63 gallons of water per day.
- A dripping faucet can waste up to 20 gallons of water a day.
- Groundwater contributes as much as1/3 of the water that comes into Geneva Lake each year.
- Geneva Lake’s ground watershed is about twice as large as its surface watershed.