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Groundwater is a vital resource for Mecklenburg County. The groundwater is used for residential drinking water, irrigation and industrial purposes. Approximately 15% of the residents in Mecklenburg County use groundwater as their primary water supply.
With so many people depending on groundwater, protection of this vital resource is important here and throughout the country.
The Groundwater Foundation of Nebraska created a national program known as Groundwater Guardian. The purpose of the Groundwater Guardian program is to empower and educate individuals to protect the groundwater resource in their community. Local Groundwater guardian teams are formed to support and encourage the formation and maintenance of citizen lead groundwater programs. Groundwater Guardian teams educate businesses, the public, schoolteachers and students on important environmental issues that affect the quality of groundwater. Educational outreach is crucial to reducing pollution and creating a more environmentally conscious community.
Mecklenburg County is designated as a Groundwater Guardian Community. Any interested individual can form a team as long as there is at least one representative from each of the following sectors: civic group and/or citizen, government, educator, business and/or agriculture. Once the four representatives have been named, the Groundwater Guardian team can plan their goals for the coming year. Learn, plan, act, designate and maintain - these are the five steps for organizing and maintaining a Groundwater Guardian team. With registration and a plan of action, the team is ready to educate and involve their community in groundwater protection. A national conference is held every fall to officially recognize the Groundwater Guardian teams. Each Groundwater Guardian team that has implemented their plan of action is designated a Groundwater Guardian Community for that year. The conference also serves to update members on national programs; networks local community programs and educates members on current topics pertaining to groundwater protection.
Mecklenburg County has had a Groundwater Guardian team since 1999. Historically, teams have been established in Mint Hill, Lake Norman and Steele Creek. Mint Hill team was recognized nationally as a Groundwater Guardian Community from 1999 thru 2004. The Steele Creek and Lake Norman Teams were established in 2000 and recognized nationally as a Groundwater Guardian Communities through 2004. In 2006 the Mecklenburg County Groundwater Advisory board established a team and have been recognized annually as Mecklenburg County Groundwater Guardian Community. Team activities have included "Water Festivals" for students and parents, educational outreach in the elementary and high schools, a poster contest, educational displays,and seminars at middle schools. The team has been offering an annual well contractors training class and an educational outreach to Realtors since 2006.
Mecklenburg County Groundwater & Wastewater Services is a Groundwater Guardian Affiliate: a role that promotes the startup of groundwater guardian teams in Mecklenburg County. If you are interested in starting a Groundwater Guardian team in your neighborhood or community, please contact Groundwater & Wastewater Services at 980-314-1680. All it takes are four interested and concerned individuals to form a team.