Groundwater is a hidden, but invaluable, natural resource. Groundwater – the water that resides underground, sometimes in deep aquifers and sometimes closer to the surface – is the source of drinking water for about two-thirds of all Vermonters. Because it seeps generally very slowly through the earth, it is frequently very clean and for that reason is critical to safeguard. Groundwater also feeds rivers and lakes, making it a valuable source of water in times of drought.
Generally speaking, Vermont is blessed with clean and abundant groundwater, but pressures on it continue to mount. Therefore, it’s critical that Vermont manage the quality and quantity of groundwater very carefully. VNRC spent several years advocating for new groundwater protections and in 2008, the Vermont legislature declared groundwater to be a public trust resource and in 2011 implemented a permitting program for large withdrawals. Lawmakers also gave cities and towns more power to regulate large commercial extractions of groundwater, and VNRC has been working with towns that choose to take a proactive approach on groundwater protection.