United States Aquifer Locations

July 7, 2014, by Ken Jorgustin

united-states-aquifer-locations

An aquifer is the saturated zone beneath the water table, and they are huge storehouses of water – a primary resource for human survival.

Here’s more about what is an aquifer and how it may relate to where you live.


 
An aquifer is a geologic formation that contains sufficient saturated, permeable material to yield significant quantities of water to wells and springs.

Aquifer is the name given to underground soil or rock through which ground water can easily move. The amount of ground water that can flow through soil or rock depends on the size of the spaces in the soil or rock and how well the spaces are connected. Aquifers typically consist of gravel, sand, sandstone, or fractured rock such as limestone.

Wells can be drilled into the aquifers and water can be pumped out, while precipitation eventually adds water back into the aquifer.

 
The following USGS website, Real-Time Groundwater Data, lists many locations within each state and the approximate depth to which you may have to drill to reach groundwater. A few extreme depths are located in parts of Nevada at depths greater than 800 feet while other locations are only 10’s of feet.

The following map shows the location of all the aquifers of the United States. If you are choosing a ‘retreat’ relocation, you may find it desirable to live as close as possible to a good water source, or above an aquifer – as water becomes more of a valuable commodity in our future.

aquifer-map-united-states

Full Size Aquifer Map

 
The next map of ‘sand and gravel’ aquifers in the United States are the easiest to access because they are shallow and closer to the surface.

Before you choose your ‘survival retreat’ location, think about the water…

sand-and-gravel-aquifer-map-united-states
Gray: glacial origin
Yellow: ‘consolidated’ aquifer (not as free flowing)
Blue: ‘unconsolidated’ aquifer (unconstrained)

 

When planning to purchase or build a house, learn as much as possible about the land and the water supply before buying or building.

When buying a home in the country, people need to consider certain factors that usually do not confront the urban home-buyer, such as whether or not the water supply is adequate.

Disappointed rural homeowners have sometimes found out too late that the well drilled on their new land does not yield enough water or that the water is of poor chemical quality. Wells can be contaminated by septic systems or barnyard wastes. Shallow or dug wells on farms or near older homes that served adequately in earlier years are often inadequate for modern uses.

If building in an unpopulated area, drill a well first — or if buying an old house, find out if the water supply is adequate.

An excellent USGS publication, Ground Water and the Rural Homeowner, reveals many helpful tips and what to look for, and to be aware of, prior to considering a rural property.

 

Another important factor is to consider the current drought outlook. The following up-to-date drought maps and forecasts show the current drought situation in the United States.
United States Drought Monitor Maps

 
Note: What these maps depict are major aquifer systems. However, there are literally tens of thousands of wells in areas not marked that are suitable for domestic water requirements – capable of producing several gallons per minute. These are shallower system dependent upon the local geology. If there is enough water to support surface streams throughout most of the year – then there is a shallow aquifer system most likely associated with it that can be used. Point of caution is to make sure your sewage is disposed of down hill/ down gradient of your well to avoid pulling the effluent into your water supply.