Researcher Henry Lin says that just as a global green revolution raised awareness about food security, a “blue revolution” may lead to efforts to water security with clean, safe water supply around the globe. “Without water there is no life,” he says. “Without groundwater, there is no clean water.” (Credit: Brayden Faganello/Flickr)

EARTH & ENVIRONMENT – Posted by Matthew Swayne-Penn State on Monday, February 18, 2013

Clean ground water needs a ‘blue revolution’

PENN STATE (US) — Clean water and air are signs of a healthy ecosystem, but we tend to overlook the critical part of the environment that’s right beneath our feet.

The ground plays an important role in maintaining a clean environment by serving as a natural water filtration and purification system, says Henry Lin, professor of hydropedology and soil hydrology at Penn State.

Understanding the components that make up this integral part of the ecosystem can lead to better groundwater management and smarter environmental policy.

“We look at nature and we see all the beauty and all the prosperity around us,” says Lin, “But most people don’t know or tend to forget that the key to sustainability is right underground.”

Lin, who reported on his research February 17 at the 2013 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Boston, says that the earth’s outer layer—from the top vegetation canopy to the strata of soils and layers of underground material—helps soak up and purify water by extracting excess nutrients, heavy metals, and other impurities. The ground can also act as a storage container for freshwater.

About 60 percent of the world’s annual precipitation ends up in this zone, Lin says.

“In fact, there is more water under the ground than there is in the so-called ‘blue waters,’ such as lakes and rivers,” says Lin.

Read more: – Clean ground water needs a ‘blue revolution’.

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