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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ An enormous amount of detailed technical evidence on groundwater was presented during consideration of the earlier Bill.
▪ And by sinking a well or borehole into an aquifer, groundwater can be pumped to the surface.
▪ But last month the issuance of groundwater discharge permits was frozen in this state.
▪ Everyone was living off tens of thousands of years of accumulated groundwater, like a spendthrift heir squandering his wealth.
▪ In some new build areas groundwater infiltration to existing sewers is as high as 20 times the dry weather flows.
▪ The Committee concluded that, subject to some important amendments and undertakings relating to groundwater, the Bill should be allowed to proceed.
▪ To take them off groundwater may well mean we have to subsidize them some more.
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"water in the ground," also ground water, 1890, from ground (n.) + water (n.1). Attested from mid-15c. in sense "water at the bottom of a stream."


alt. water that exists beneath the earth's surface in underground streams and aquifers. n. water that exists beneath the earth's surface in underground streams and aquifers.


Groundwater (or ground water) is the water present beneath Earth's surface in soil pore spaces and in the fractures of rock formations. A unit of rock or an unconsolidated deposit is called an aquifer when it can yield a usable quantity of water. The depth at which soil pore spaces or fractures and voids in rock become completely saturated with water is called the water table. Groundwater is recharged from, and eventually flows to, the surface naturally; natural discharge often occurs at springs and seeps, and can form oases or wetlands. Groundwater is also often withdrawn for agricultural, municipal, and industrial use by constructing and operating extraction wells. The study of the distribution and movement of groundwater is hydrogeology, also called groundwater hydrology.

Typically, groundwater is thought of as water flowing through shallow aquifers, but, in the technical sense, it can also contain soil moisture, permafrost (frozen soil), immobile water in very low permeability bedrock, and deep geothermal or oil formation water. Groundwater is hypothesized to provide lubrication that can possibly influence the movement of faults. It is likely that much of Earth's subsurface contains some water, which may be mixed with other fluids in some instances. Groundwater may not be confined only to Earth. The formation of some of the landforms observed on Mars may have been influenced by groundwater. There is also evidence that liquid water may also exist in the subsurface of Jupiter's moon Europa.

Groundwater is often cheaper, more convenient and less vulnerable to pollution than surface water. Therefore, it is commonly used for public water supplies. For example, groundwater provides the largest source of usable water storage in the United States, and California annually withdraws the largest amount of groundwater of all the states. Underground reservoirs contain far more water than the capacity of all surface reservoirs and lakes in the US, including the Great Lakes. Many municipal water supplies are derived solely from groundwater.

Polluted groundwater is less visible, but more difficult to clean up, than pollution in rivers and lakes. Groundwater pollution most often results from improper disposal of wastes on land. Major sources include industrial and household chemicals and garbage landfills, excessive fertilizers and pesticides used in agriculture, industrial waste lagoons, tailings and process wastewater from mines, industrial fracking, oil field brine pits, leaking underground oil storage tanks and pipelines, sewage sludge and septic systems.

Usage examples of "groundwater".

I do not understand the current frenzy, since point-source discharges from the floodplain's seventeen small towns produce in one calendar year twelve times the amount of chemically contaminated stormwater runoff, groundwater leaching, and coliform discharge into surface waters than the combined discharge of all farms in the floodplain for the past decade.

The battered roadbed gave beneath his right foot where a trickle of groundwater seeped up to dampen the leather of his boots and creep in through the seams.

Unlike most eruptions and earthquakes, these gave no time to study precursory phenomena such as foreshocks, groundwater fluctuations and changes in the behavior of domestic and wild animals.

In this area the groundwater level has been fluctuating for millions of years.

We sample soil and groundwater, test which mushroom soaks up more radionuclides, check the DNA of mammals.

But the storm last night pushed the groundwater to saturation point and beyond.

That's when carbonic acid from the groundwater above and sulfuric acid from the hydrocarbon field below went to work dissolving limestone.

The sap, drawing on the deepest groundwater, sustained them through the mightiest supercontinental droughts—and, laden with beneficent chemicals, the sap healed their injuries and illnesses.