chapter  4
4Chapter Groundwater Access and Supply: Wells, Springs, and Green Management
Pages 36

Access to groundwater is the fi rst condition to bring it into human use and value. Since water is essential to all life, water and access to it have an inherent value. The cost of creating properly installed access to groundwater (i.e., a well) affects the groundwater producer’s supply cost for water. Access to groundwater may determine habitability of an area: consider the oasis in the desert, the Biblical Jacob’s well, or the high-capacity High Plains irrigation well. Gaining admission to the land overlying the groundwater of interest is a basic access requirement for groundwater. The factors that infl uence access to groundwater and its quality affect its supply cost and ultimately its price to consumers. Before obtaining access to groundwater for whatever purpose, it is best to consider available information about the subsurface before conducting fi eld exploration for groundwater and installing one well or many wells. Hydrogeologic conditions of the subsurface, water demand implications for well size, and well type will also factor into well development costs. Access to groundwater may also provide avenues for supply augmentation as well as disposal, using the subsurface as a sink for treated and untreated wastes and water. Furthermore, wells may be used to produce other substances of commercial value other than water. Ecological aspects of groundwater access should receive further examination.