Management of Groundwater

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) recognizes that groundwater resources are essential for drinking, irrigation, and numerous other beneficial uses for much of North America’s and the world’s population.  Groundwater also provides base flow for surface water bodies and supports a healthy environmental habitat. AWWA therefore supports the proper characterization, development, management, and use of such resources to protect the long-term quantity and quality of groundwater.  

Ensuring the most beneficial use(s) of groundwater requires the best joint efforts of water utilities, governments, the water profession, the educational community, and other water users and organizations. In many locations, groundwater resources have been or are in danger of becoming depleted by overdraft or degraded because of incompatible land use, waste disposal, and poor well construction/abandonment practices.  Recharge considerations are also critical in managing water supply wellfields and maintaining the sustainability of groundwater supplies.

AWWA therefore supports both improving the understanding of groundwater-related technical issues and developing sound policies and regulations that protect groundwater quality and quantity. AWWA also supports proactive planning, education, and source water and wellhead protection efforts. Public education and outreach around issues such as well siting, design, construction, maintenance and rehabilitation practices, as well as groundwater withdrawal operations, are encouraged. AWWA supports water resource management practices that optimize the use of groundwater as drinking water supply, while balancing other competing uses. 
Practices specified in this policy statement are consistent with all other pertinent AWWA policy statements. 

Adopted by the Board of Directors June 23, 1991, and revised June 11, 2000, reaffirmed June 13, 2004, Jan. 23 2001. Revised June 8, 2014 and October 24, 2018.