Some water underlies the Earth's surface almost everywhere, beneath hills, mountains,plains, and deserts. It's not always accessible, or fresh enough for use without treatment, and it's sometimes difficult to locate or to measure and descri be. This water may occur close to the land surface, as in a marsh, or it may lie many hundreds of feet below the surface, as in some arid areas of the West. Water at very shallow depths might be just a few hours old ; at moderate depth, it may be 100 years old; and at great depth or after having flowed long distances from places of entry, water may be several thousands of years old . Water under the Earth's surface is called ground water.