United States Aquifer Locations

An aquifer is the saturated zone beneath the water table. Aquifers 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 aquifer 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.

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…

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 β€” 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.


  1. We get all of our drinking water from an artesian well 30 minutes from our home. This water has tested at 99.9% pure. Does the water supply from an artesian well come from an aquifer mentioned in this thread?

    1. That would depend on where you are located as none of us know who you are or where you live.

  2. Our well is relatively shallow, however we drilled quite a bit deeper than the top of the aquifer. I think we bottomed out at around 85 feet in to some shell. The water is drinkable, but has pretty high sulfur and iron. In addition, we have 450ppm salt, which while not dangerous, it needs to be figured in to the diet if wed ever resort to using the well for domestic drinking water.

    That said, our Big Berkey will filter out most of the nasties and give us pretty tasty water. It won’t remove the salt [I don’t think] but it should eliminate most of the iron and the carbon filter will remove the sulfur.

  3. ok, maybe this is a stupid question…but..

    does all the pollution/runoff which is impacted on surface end, eventually, down in these aquifers? —- Would what (pollution) ends in aquifers be impacted by surface watersheds? ————– Are Aquifers sort of deep underground lakes which water drains in to, or ——– do Aquifers eventually “run off” into the oceans?


    1. Yes, surface water does end up in the aquifer. Fortunately, soil is a pretty good filter.

      Aquifers are not subterranean lakes. More like creeks. Water flowing through shale.

      The only case that I’ve heard of with an aquifer and the ocean mixing was the other way around. Folks in the San Fernando valley pumped too much water, salt water filled the void. Not good.

      1. Gravity,

        thanks for explanation..

        am thinking that yes, above map is good to check out for water resources, but, one should take note of “industry” and pollution sources, which might impact them.

  4. Coastal states can suffer salt water intrusion into their aquifers in times of drought.
    Something to think about.

  5. I live in Marietta, Ga. and I want to drill a well on my property. Does anyone know a reputable driller or have any information for this area?

  6. In looking at this map, and once being a proponent of the Keystone Pipeline, I have to rethink my opinion. If by some chance there was a leak in the pipeline, how would they be able to clean it up? it’s underground and inaccessible. Where as the ocean, river or creek is accessible. The aquifer the Keystone is planned to go through, is enormous. From South Dakota to Texas & New Mexico..

    1. It is a concern. That is where the bulk of the food this country produces comes from. If that aquifer is contaminated, it will drastically impact our quality of life. What benefits will be gained by building/allowing a foreign pipeline to come through our country? It will create temporary jobs until the pipeline is built, then a few once it is finished. Research that I have read shows no real lasting impact of that pipeline.

  7. Do you realize a pipeline can be immediately turned off (like a water main to your house) AND it would be monitored constantly? Unlike trains rerailing catching fire and dumping oil into and all over everything.

    1. You are πŸ’―% correct… Much like nuclear power is safe and needed desperately in America! πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡²

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