When we take care of our water, we are taking care of the Planet. Every day, the United States alone draws 349 billion gallons of freshwater. Of that 349 billion gallons, only 26% of it is what is known as groundwater. That means that only 79.6 billion gallons a day currently comes from groundwater. Environmental engineering suggests that there is much more we can do with groundwater.
Roughly 25% of all rainwater becomes groundwater, providing much of the flow to streams and leading directly to the water table. At the same time, water quality reports give a rather bleak outlook for our water at present. These reports tell us that some 45% of streams, 32% of bays, and almost half of our lakes are polluted.
Aerial shots of our tributaries have given evidence of how water is flowing and where it is being put into contact wth possible pollutants. But an aerial look at our water is only the beginning. Environmental consulting firms are continually applying new and advanced technologies to the application of our water collection and distribution practices.
In an effort to record the state of freshwater systems, paying specific attention to rivers, lake shores, and bay areas, scientists are sending up aerial drones to survey and record very important data. One of the benefits of having this technology in the air is that it allows photographs of a very high density with specific locations being able to be tagged with GPS data.
Also, with the latest equipment and technology, the aerial drone photography can capture very highly accurate detail in order to produce 3D models of the surveyed areas. This becomes highly important as scientists and environmental consultants not only find where our pollution is most likely to occur and is occurring but also in the search for groundwater areas yet to be tapped.
Groundwater will generally follow the contours of the surface of the ground. This being the case, it would obviously be a more successful undertaking to drill a well at the low point of this water source, like a ravine or someplace in a valley rather than at the top of a high mountain.
When an aerial drone mission searches for groundwater sources, the pilots tend to focus on the lower elevations of the surrounding land. Mostly this includes rivers, basins, streams, and ponds.
But before we can add water to what is already a polluted source, we must find ways to bring our water back to acceptable levels of pollution-free existence in the United States and worldwide. Roughly 90% of freshwater supplies lie underground and we only currently use 27% of that. We have the supply and we have the technology to find it. The question remains, though, as to whether or not we have the ability to keep it clean for us and our children.