Westerville, OH -- Within hours of a government shutdown, Congress last week passed $1.1 trillion in spending that contains $2.6 million for the implementation of the National Ground-Water Monitoring Network, a program of which the National Ground Water Association is a strong advocate.
On December 16 President Obama signed the bill funding the federal government through fiscal year 2015.
The money allows the U.S. Geological Survey to provide cost-share grants to states in the form of cooperative agreements to upgrade monitoring networks to national standards and to incorporate wells into the network. The funding also will support additional work by USGS to manage the network and provide data access to the public through an Internet web portal.
NGWA led the effort with allied organizations and coalition members to obtain funding for the network, which is a significant achievement for the Association and its members. The network will rely on states to collect and report monitoring data. This data will be used to generate a comprehensive picture of the resource on a national scale, which has never been done before.
“This funding is the result of nearly a decade-long effort led by NGWA to raise awareness of the critical role groundwater plays as a natural resource through the implementation of a nationwide monitoring network,” said NGWA Chief Executive Officer Kevin McCray, CAE.
The NGWMN will allow USGS and others across the country to have access to data via an online portal, enabling a greater understanding of groundwater resources on a national scale. With increased pressure on water resources, particularly in the West, the implementation of the NGWMN will help inform good management of groundwater supplies across the country. This is important to the continued use of water wells as a source of safe drinking water for millions of Americans who rely on both public water systems and privately owned household wells.
NGWA and its partners will begin work on ensuring continued funding for the network early in 2015. For more information on the NGWMN and the portal, please visit http://cida.usgs.gov/ngwmn/ or contact NGWA Government Affairs Director Lauren Schapker at 202 888.9151 or lschapker@NGWA.org.
An editorial on the network by Mike Wireman, retired from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will be featured in the Winter 2015 edition of NGWA's journal, Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation®.
NGWA, a nonprofit organization composed of U.S. and international groundwater professionals — contractors, equipment manufacturers, suppliers, scientists, and engineers — is dedicated to advancing groundwater knowledge. NGWA’s vision is to be the leading groundwater association that advocates the responsible development, management, and use of water.