Groundwater Use in Douglas County

Written by Julia Hoffman, ESLLC 2016-2017

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I was born in a small suburb in Orange County, California. When I moved to Colorado at the age of 10, I couldn’t help but notice how green and pristine all the grass was compared to the grass in my neighborhood back in California. This seemed odd to me because I knew that Colorado was much drier than CA. My dad always seemed to be in competition with the neighbors over who could have the greenest lawn every summer. I recall the sprinklers going on everyday but this never phased me because I hadn’t considered where this water was even coming from, which seems to be the mindset of everyone else around here.

No one seems to realize that Colorado is a desert and green grass is not native or natural to this climate. And no one seems to realize that Douglas County is not in any relative proximity to a fresh water source of any kind. In Douglas County, 90% of the water is sucked up from underground aquifers. This is incredibly unsustainable and detrimental to the underground aquifer. When massive amounts of water are sucked from the aquifer it creates a cone of depression around the well that’s accessing the water. If this depression becomes too great it can lead to the collapse of the aquifer and forever destroy its ability to hold water.

What is also very unsustainable about this withdrawal is that the aquifer is not recharging at a rate even close to the rate of withdraw. Douglas County will soon be out of water and it’s only growing in population. They are building reservoirs but they will not have enough water to supply the growing population. In my opinion Douglas County needs to start restricting how much water its residents can use for watering their lawns and other somewhat useless wastes of this precious resource. Everyone needs to start considering that although individuals may not seem to make a difference, if we all move towards conservation and sustainability it will benefit ourselves and our communities.

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