Difference between Municipal Water and surface water ?
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The nation’s surface-water resources—the water in the nation’s rivers, streams, creeks, lakes, and reservoirs—are vitally important to our everyday life. The main uses of surface water include drinking-water and other public uses, irrigation uses, and for use by the thermoelectric-power industry to cool electricity-generating equipment.
Groundwater is an important part of the water cycle. Groundwater is the part of precipitation that seeps down through the soil until it reaches rock material that is saturated with water. Water in the ground is stored in the spaces between rock particles (no, there are no underground rivers or lakes). Groundwater slowly moves underground, generally at a downward angle (because of gravity), and may eventually seep into streams, lakes, and oceans.
Here is a simplified diagram showing how the ground is saturated below the water table (the purple area). The ground above the water table (the pink area) may be wet to a certain degree, but it does not stay saturated. The dirt and rock in this unsaturated zone contain air and some water and support the vegetation on the Earth. The saturated zone below the water table has water that fills the tiny spaces (pores) between rock particles and the cracks (fractures) of the rocks.
Surface water and groundwater are both important sources for community water supply needs. Groundwater is a common source for single homes and small towns, and rivers and lakes are the usual sources for large cities. Although approximately 98 percent of liquid fresh water exists as groundwater, much of it occurs very deep. This makes pumping very expensive, preventing the full development and use of all groundwater resources.
Surface water includes the freshwater that is channeled into stream systems, lakes, and wetlands on land. Groundwater, on the other hand, is contained in subterranean aquifers within the rock layers below the water table – the underground boundary that divides the saturated and unsaturated levels of the ground. Groundwater derives primarily from rainfall and snowmelt that infiltrates through the soil and into the bedrock, where, driven by gravity, it collects between particles, fractures, and cavities inside rock layers.
The majority of the Earth’s groundwater lies within a half-mile of the surface. When it hits an impermeable subterranean layer – such as massive, nonporous rock or clay – the groundwater pools and may flow laterally along it.