Groundwater supplies 75 percent of Minnesota's drinking water. Here in Dakota County, groundwater supplies more than 90 percent of the drinking water.
What is groundwater?
Groundwater is an important part of the hydrologic (water) cycle. The cycle begins with precipitation like rain and snow falling to the ground. Rain or snow melt either runs off the land into lakes, rivers and wetlands or soaks into the soil.
Some water is taken up by plants and transpired back into the air. The rest of the water, called recharge, infiltrates downward to the water table filling in the spaces between sediment and rocks in the ground. Water soaks into the ground at different rates depending on the type of soil, vegetation and other factors.
In general, water moves from higher elevation to lower elevation from where it is recharged to where it discharges to a lake, stream or ocean and becomes surface water. Surface water can either recharge and infiltrate to groundwater or evaporate into the atmosphere where it forms clouds and becomes rain and snow to begin the cycle again.
Learn more about the basics of groundwater and find resources for classrooms, at these websites: