Obsessing about water


It goes without saying that sustainable living is not, um, sustainable without water. Farmers obsess about the weather, as well they should. Their livelihood depends upon the weather. Here in the Southeast, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, we’ve been in a drought. There is no shortage of surface water at present. We’ve had around 2.5 inches of rain in the past few days. But groundwater, the aquifers that feed our wells and keep our springs and streams flowing, still has not recovered from the drought years early this decade.

The United States Geological Survey maintains wells around the country to monitor groundwater levels. The two nearest me are at East Bend, North Carolina; and Mocksville, North Carolina.

The chart above shows the groundwater level at Mocksville for the past seven days. The soaking rain we’ve had for the past few days is definitely bringing up the groundwater.


The chart above shows the groundwater level at East Bend for the past 60 days. That chart, too, looks good.

Nerd note: The daily data in the chart above shows a saw-tooth periodicity that made me curious. Some quick research suggests that barometric pressure causes fluctuation in the groundwater level. But solar and lunar tides also seem to affect groundwater levels.


But if you look at the long-term Mocksville data, which is available only as far back as 1981, you can see that, long term, groundwater level is still below the mean, and we are still in a drought with an unfavorable long-term trend.

Speaking of periodicity, the groundwater level here normally falls during the warm seasons of the year and rises during the cool seasons of the year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *