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Ground water and surface water: A single resource

July 31, 1998

The importance of considering ground water and surface water as a single resource has become increasingly evident. Issues related to water supply, water quality, and degradation of aquatic environments are reported on frequently. The interaction of ground water and surface water has been shown to be a significant concern in many of these issues. Contaminated aquifers that discharge to streams can result in long-term contamination of surface water; conversely, streams can be a major source of contamination to aquifers. Surface water commonly is hydraulically connected to ground water, but the interactions are difficult to observe and measure. The purpose of this report is to present our current understanding of these processes and activities as well as limitations in our knowledge and ability to characterize them.

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