What You’ll Need
- Clear plastic cups
- Sand, gravel or aquarium rock
- Clean soap or lotion pump
- Start by filling a cup with sand/gravel.
- Add water, filling the cup until half of the sand/gravel is saturated. Where did the water go?
- The water filled the spaces between the particles of sand/gravel. This is groundwater!
- The line created by the water is called the water table. The area below the water table is called the saturated zone. The unsaturated zone is above the water table.
- Add more water, pretending the water is rain from a storm cloud.
- This recharges the groundwater supply. This is what happens when it rains, snows or water infiltrates into the ground.
- Continue to fill the cup with water until the water covers the gravel/sand.
- This water is called surface water—water from rivers, lakes or oceans.
- Using the soap or lotion pump, pump the groundwater out of the aquifer.
- This simulates a well and allows us to access the groundwater.
What We Learned
- Water inside the ground is called groundwater and is delivered to the tap.
- The line between the saturated zone and the unsaturated zone is called the water table.
- Some people get their water by pumping groundwater from a well.
- Rain, snow and other forms of water on the ground replenish the groundwater supply.
Water above ground is called surface water – this includes lakes, oceans and rivers.