Groundwater and hydrology
Hydrology is the science that encompasses the study of water on the Earth’s surface and beneath the surface of the Earth, the occurrence and movement of water, the physical and chemical properties of water, and its relationship with the living and material components of the environment.
Groundwater constitutes the largest reservoir of freshwater in the world, accounting for over 97% of all freshwaters available on earth (excluding glaciers and ice caps). The remaining 3% is composed mainly of surface water (lakes, rivers, wetlands) and soil moisture. Groundwater represents an important link of the hydrological cycle through the maintenance of wetlands and river flows, acting as a buffer through dry periods. In other words, it provides the base flow (i.e. the water which feeds rivers all year round) for surface water systems, many of which are used for water supply and recreation. Hence, deterioration of groundwater quality may directly affect other related aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.