Vermont’s Groundwater Factsheet

VNRC’s scientific knowledge, expert legal counsel, and full-time presence at the State House, combined with over four decades of experience, enables our staff to initiate real change on issues critical to Vermont – like the future of our water.


  • Groundwater accumulates in bedrock formations under the ground
  • 2/3 of Vermonters depend on groundwater —as opposed to springs fed by surface water—for their drinking water
  • Few Vermont communities have mapped, classified or protected groundwater
  • Vermont is the only New England state without policies regulating commercial water bottling industries
  • 95% of fresh water in the U.S. is underground
  • North America’s largest aquifer, the Ogallala, is being depleted each year at a volume equal to the annual flow of 18 Colorado Rivers
  • 4.5 million people in Europe are experiencing chronic water shortages, with more than 1/2 of Europe’s cities exploiting groundwater at unsustainable rates
  • Over the next 20 years, the average supply of water world-wide per person is expected to drop by 1/3
  • 1 person in 5 across the world has no access to safe drinking water

VNRC is concerned because Vermont is behind the curve on protecting our groundwater aquifers. We simply do not know how much groundwater we have, where it is, which areas are contaminated and which are pristine. VNRC is working in the State House this session to ensure that mapping, classification and regulation occur. Vermont’s groundwater is vulnerable to pollution and depletion, especially from unregulated commercial bottled water operations. VNRC is calling on the Legislature to create the following solutions this session:

  • Hold all of Vermont’s surface and groundwater in a public trust to ensure that Vermont’s water is owned by no one person, but by everyone and that any commercial use is carefully considered with the public’s interest as a first priority. Many states, including New Hampshire have already done this.
  • Establish funding for and require the Agency of Natural Resources to map and classify all groundwater so that decisions to protect and regulate our water are based on sound scientific data.
  • Create regulatory policies to ensure we do not deplete groundwater and guarantee public involvement in decisions about the future of this vital resource.

Citizen participation makes VNRC’s work to preserve our groundwater possible. VNRC can help keep you informed and involved, letting you know: when and where to attend public meetings on important water basin plans; when to submit written comments to Water Resources Board; and how to work with your town government and the State to ensure your water is protected from contamination, industrial over use and depletion.

With your help we can protect our water for future generations!