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  • WaterWired
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  • Western Water Blog
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  • xAnalytical
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« China's Water Boondoggle-In-Waiting | Main | Jim Gehrels, Glenn Stronks, and Lifewater Canada: Making a Difference »

Saturday, 22 December 2007


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Dear Dune_Runner,

Thanks for commenting.

Most ground water heat-pump systems with which I am familiar do not use ground water consumptively, i.e., most of the water goes back into the aquifer after it serves as a heat source or sink.

The National Ground Water Association ( has done a lot of work in this area. Go to its WWW site and do a search. I would also try


Are there any studies looking into the effect geothermal home heating systems might have on groundwater? If the average household heat-pump systems draws out 10,000 gallons each day, then what's happening to the groundwater supply?


I'm interested in the degree to which geothermal heat-pump systems, with their high daily extraction of groundwater, could be affecting groundwater quality.


Hi, Mary Ann.

I would start with Dr. Macpherson at the University of Kansas and the Stoat blog.

Mary Ann Cacho

I am currently looking into a possible research topic and I came across this article. Are there other studies that support the above claims? What other area, do you think, could be studied in relation to the above study? I really need some technical help on this matter. Thanks.


Dear Mary Ann,

Thanks for your comment.

In the USA, cities such as New York, Boston, and San Francisco rely almost exclusively (maybe 100%) on surface water. You can find more by searching on the Internet.

Whether or not a country should rely 100% on ground water depends upon things such as: 1) is there any suitable SW available; 2) is the GW non-renewable or renewable; 3) are there any negative effects (land subsidence, etc.) of using GW; 4) what is the annual consumption compared to the total amount of recoverable ground water in storage? So it is a case-by-case basis.

In the USA, a number of states (which have the responsibility for managing and allocating water) prohibit pumping out more ground water than the average annual aquifer recharge.

Peruse the UNESCO-IHP (International Hydrological Programme) WWW site (, "The World's Water Resources" biennial reports from the Pacific Institute (, the USGS (, and the National Ground Water Association (

Also visit your local library, especially if you have access to a university library.

Mary Ann Fuertes

Hi, thanks for the article. I am researching on something that will technically support why a country should not 100% depend on groundwater; that it needs to diversify its supply. Can you please help me cite some policies on conserving groundwater and concrete examples of cities or countries where surface water is a major source for drinking water supply. Thanks a lot.


Hi, Ana.

Interesting comment - thanks. It has been a long time since I took solid-earth geophysics.

Certainly, fluids in the earth have a role in heat transfer, via convection (advection) and conduction through the solid-fluid complex.

My sense is that the effects of removing the earth's fluids have been minimal, simply because the volume of fluid removed has been miniscule relative to the volume of the earth, or even just the volume of the near-surface portion of the earth.


Could it be possible that underground water and oil have been working as the earth's internal cooling system?
By pumping out both for human consumption, we have left those underground areas without protection and this has exacerbating the global warming issue.
By pumping water back into those areas – with treated water, even sea water – we would be refilling that cooling system and with time, that water will become available to human consumption.

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