Celebrating our groundwater

by Peter Speckner, Communications Coordinator

local grand riverIf you ask most people if water is important, they will tell you it’s very important. If you ask them where Waterloo Region gets its water from, they will most likely say “the Grand River”.  The fact is that only 15% of our water comes from the Grand River. The rest, a whopping 85%, comes from groundwater. Now, you’re probably asking yourself – what is groundwater?

Well you’re not the only one unsure of what it is. And if we’re unsure of what it is, then how can we know just how important it is to preserve and protect? That’s why the Children’s Groundwater Festival was created.

More on the festival shortly. First let’s take a quick look at what we mean by groundwater.

What is groundwater?

aquifer grap hicGroundwater is the water found underground in the cracks and spaces in soil, sand and rock. It is stored in and moves slowly through geologic formations of soil, sand and rocks called aquifers.

If you’d like to learn more about groundwater, there are plenty of resources out there for you check out. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Canada has a site devoted to what groundwater is, where it’s found, and its importance to the environment.

If you’re looking for more information specific to the groundwater situation in our own backyard, you could check out the Grand River Conservation Authority. Although their primary mandate is protecting the Grand River and surrounding areas, groundwater and the river are interconnected, and what affects one will inevitably affect the other.

What is the Children’s Groundwater Festival?

Started in Nebraska, USA in 1988 as the Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival, it was a 1-day event filled with hands-on education for 4th and 5th grade students.  It has since spread to 40 states, Mexico, Canada, Australia, and India.  Here in Waterloo Region, our Waterloo Wellington Children’s Groundwater Festival is a 5-day festival running from May 27 – June 2, hosted at the Waterloo Region Museum.

groundwater displayOur festival is a full-day program, with activities appropriate for grades 2-5. They will learn about stormwater management, water conservation, how showers and toilets work, and see a functioning model of our municipal water system, just to name a few. All classes are now full, but they are collecting registrations for their waiting lists. Talk to your child’s teacher to see if their classes are planning to attend.

Join us at Ecofest

Logo for EcofestAnother event in our local groundwater festival is EcoFest; a FREE fun and interactive event open to the public, celebrating the environment and sharing simple environmentally friendly lifestyle choices to take home. It’s on Saturday, May 28 at the Waterloo Region Museum from 9:30 am – 4 pm.

We’ll be there along with our friends from ClimateActionWR. Be sure to join us!

Managing your stormwater protects our groundwater

water planetREEP Green Solutions also takes the preservation of our groundwater seriously.  One of our goals is to help homeowners manage stormwater on their own properties, since it will eventually find its way into our groundwater. If you’re concerned about how your stormwater is flowing on your property, contact our RAIN program.  We’ll be more than happy to help.

Nobody can underestimate the importance of water to all life. Making sure our water system is clean and safe for years to come is everyone’s responsibility.  Letting kids have fun while learning about it all is just a bonus.


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