A precious resource hidden from view.
We see groundwater when it flows from our faucets. Otherwise, it remains invisible to us–sometimes hundreds of feet underground. Yet in the North and South Branch Raritan Watershed, 4 out of 5 residents rely on groundwater from private wells every day and nearly all of the remainder use groundwater from municipal or community wells.
Groundwater is used to irrigate much of the farmland in our watershed. Some of the groundwater remains underground in aquifers for hundreds or thousands of years but much of it is moving as it seeps from the ground into our streams and rivers. These streams that come from the headwaters region eventually flow into the Lower Raritan River that supplies drinking water to 1.5 million people outside our watershed. Finally, it reaches Raritan Bay where it mixes with ocean water to form the lifeblood of the estuaries there. Groundwater matters to our health and the health of our ecosystems in far-reaching ways.