Southwestern Ohio’s natural water resources are considered an abundant and valuable asset for business recruitment and development.
A large source of water is the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer. Here are five facts about the aquifer, according to Tim McLelland, manager of the Hamilton to New Baltimore Area Groundwater Consortium.
1. What is the aquifer? It’s a reservoir of water, about 250 feet deep, running underneath the Great Miami River and stretching from Logan County to the Ohio River.
In places underground it’s as wide as two miles beyond the banks of the river.
2. How much water is in the aquifer? Consortium members including public utilities and the MillerCoors Trenton brewery pump an average 62 million gallons of water combined a day. The total amount of water that can be taken from the aquifer is believed to be as much as 300 million gallons daily, based on historical reports.
3. Are the water levels changing? The aquifer replenishes itself with rain and other precipitation.
The water levels today are the same as they were when the consortium was formed in 1967.
“We’re confident that we’ll have a sustainable system now and in the future” as far as the ability to pump water in the region without having a negative effect on water levels, McLelland said.
Each consortium member has a plan estimating what future water use is going to be and based on that information, “we’re confident this region can support that,” he said.
4. How good is the water quality? The aquifer has natural filtration from sand and gravel.
“The natural filtration of the aquifer is a benefit because we’re not having to treat it like a surface water system would have to.” In fact, most of the time, “by the time it gets to the well it’s almost drinkable.”
5. Should we be concerned about water conservation? The consortium encourages “wise water use” such as turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth, and using only appropriate amounts of water when watering your lawn.
“We’re not in a crisis to conserve water, but we also want it to be used wisely by customers,” McLelland said.
The consortium consists of seven public and members — Greater Cincinnati Water Works, Fairfield city, Hamilton city, Southwest Regional Water District, Butler County Water and Sewer, Southwestern Ohio Water Company and MillerCoors — focused on water quantity and quality issues.