The main difference between groundwater and surface water is that groundwater is beneath the Earth’s surface, whereas surface water is on the top of Earth’s crust.
Water is an essential matter for all living things. We cannot survive without water because our cell functioning requires water. We can find water on Earth in two forms as groundwater and surface water, depending on the location.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Groundwater
– Definition, Features
2. What is Surface Water
– Definition, Features
3. What is the Difference Between Groundwater and Surface Water
– Comparison of Key Differences
Groundwater, Surface Water, Water
What is Groundwater
Groundwater is the water that is below the surface of Earth. This water occurs in pore space in soil and fractures of rock formations. An unconsolidated deposit of this type of water is known as an aquifer. The aquifers yield a usable quantity of water. At a certain depth, the soil pore spaces and fracture points of rock get saturated with water. This depth is known as the water table. Sometimes, this groundwater is discharged from surface water bodies in the form of springs and seeps. In addition to that, this water can cause the formation of wetlands and oases. People also tend to withdraw this water for agricultural purposes, municipal needs and industrial needs. Moreover, the water from the underground comes out through wells.
Groundwater contains water flowing through aquifers, soil moisture, and permafrost. Recent research studies have shown that there is evidence for underground water in Mars, not only on Earth. Researchers also believe that there can be subsurface water in Europa, a moon of Jupiter. Furthermore, groundwater is prone to underground water pollution. But it is less vulnerable to pollution than surface water. Moreover, polluted groundwater is less visible and difficult to clean up. Major sources of pollution of groundwater include waste disposal from the household, industrial waste, garbage landfills, excessive fertilizer usage, etc.
What is Surface Water
Surface water is the water that is located on the surface of Earth. We can observe this type of water in lakes, rivers, ocean, creeks, and wetlands. This is what we call in common as “blue water”. The surface water forms from the precipitation and water runoffs. In the summertime, snow melting also produces surface water. Moreover, the amount of surface water becomes less when evaporation takes place and due to the movement of water into the water table and exist as groundwater.
In fact, the major use of surface water is its use as drinking water. In addition to that, surface water is very useful in irrigation purposes, agricultural needs, wastewater treatment, livestock, hydropower production, etc. Surface water usually exists in three types: permanent surface water, semi-permanent surface water, and man-made surface water. Permanent surface water is present year-round (oceans), while semi-permanent water occurs at some time periods of a year (some lakes). Man-made surface water, on the other hand, is the collection of water artificially, as designed by humans (reservoirs).
Difference Between Groundwater and Surface Water
Groundwater is the water that occurs below the surface of Earth while surface water is the water that is above the surface of Earth.
While groundwater is beneath the surface of Earth, surface water is on the surface of Earth
Moreover, groundwater is less prone to pollution while surface water is highly prone to pollution.
Groundwater is found at groundwater table, aquifers, soil pore spaces, and rock fracture points while surface water is found at permanent sources such as oceans, semi-permanent sources such as some lakes, and man-made sources such as reservoirs.
Groundwater is used for household needs, agricultural needs, and industrial purposes while surface water is used for drinking, cleaning, irrigation purposes, agricultural needs, wastewater treatment, livestock, hydropower production, etc.
In conclusion, water is an essential liquid for all living things. Water can occur on two forms on Earth as groundwater and surface water. The main difference between groundwater and surface water is that groundwater is beneath the Earth’s surface, whereas surface water is on the top of Earth’s crust.
1. “What Is Ground Water .” What Is Groundwater? Available here.
2. “Groundwater.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 31 Mar. 2020, Available here.
3. “Surface Water.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 26 May 2020, Available here.
1. “MiddleSpring” By Qfl247 (talk) (Transferred by Citypeek/Original uploaded by Qfl247) – I (Qfl247 (talk)) own work. (Original uploaded on en.wikipedia) (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Water, river, background, wave, liquid, surface, nature, blue, sunlight, rhine” (CC0) via Pxfuel.com