Here in Memphis, environmental fanatics are doing everything possible to prevent the TVA from using aquifer water to cool a new combined cycle energy plant. The contention is that the water level depression caused by the minuscule TVA pumps will allow other water to be drawn into the aquifer to fill the void.
Scientifically, this is a valid concern, albeit it a harmless one. Gravity guarantees that this phenomenon will indeed occur; however, that is not the argument here. We know that Water will always seek the lowest level it can find. So if we pump from a well, it creates an affected zone where the water level does in fact lower. Accordingly, any surface water nearby will be available to be drawn into the aquifer. So what should we do? Prohibit everyone from drilling a well? Of course not! This depression action is a property of nature and no university study or silly, arbitrary environmental emotionalism is going to change that.
If we really are concerned with protecting groundwater then we must realize that the drawing of new water into aquifers by properly-permitted well pumping is only a very minor source of potential aquifer contamination.
Make no mistake, all groundwater, all aquifers are constantly degrading and there is nothing that can be done to stop it. Let’s examine why.
Many years ago, when aquifers were created, there were no factories, no automobiles, no landfills, air pollution and certainly no pesticides and fertilizers. As a result, the water that trickled down into the aquifers was very pristine. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. The water that trickles into our aquifers today is loaded with the pollutants washing off from all the sources I just described above.
For these reasons, it is scientifically impossible to “protect” an aquifer because the world we live in is not capable of trickling clean, pure water back in. Simply stated, we take out good stuff, and we put back junk. In Memphis, there is an ongoing witch hunt on wells too small to even be statistically significant. Meanwhile the very people claiming to be friends of the environment are the among the biggest polluters and threats to that very same groundwater.
SHOULD WE BE GOOD STEWARDS TO OUR WATER? ABSOLUTELY!
It is the technological state of the age, not the desire of the citizen that dictates groundwater quality. On this there is no counter position, and no debate.
-Tom Volinchak, water quality expert-