Difference Between Surface Water and Ground Water (With Table)

The earth provides many resources for our convenience and comfort. Water is one of the natural resources. There are different types of water were available on the earth. Water is the major resource for the daily life of living beings. Surface water and groundwater are two different types using daily.

Surface Water vs Ground Water

The difference between surface water and groundwater is their location. The surface water is found on the surface of the earth. The groundwater is found underground on earth. The water present on the surface of the earth has less mineral content. The water present at the ground level of the earth has more mineral content. The surface water is also called soft water for its less mineral content. The groundwater is also called hard water because of its strong mineral content.

The body of water found on the surface of the earth is called surface water. The surface water includes streams, lakes, and creeks. The hydrological cycle and water cycle include the surface water. In surface water, the water gets precipitated. Surface water has several types namely, perennial, ephemeral, and man-made. The surface water is involved in the moment of water from and to earth. Surface water is also referred to as blue water.

Groundwater is nothing but water present at the ground level of the earth. An unconsolidated deposit on the underground is called an aquifer. The rock and soil are completely saturated with water underground of the earth that is called the water table. The groundwater is rechargeable, and it is recharged from the surface of the earth. Hydrogeology is the study of groundwater, and it is also called hydrology.

Comparison Table Between Surface Water and Groundwater

Parameters of comparisonSurface Water Groundwater
DefinitionWater found in the upper side of the earth like rivers and lakes is called surface water.Water trapped underground of the earth is called groundwater.
Quality of waterSurface Water is more contaminatedGroundwater is less contaminated
ExposureSurface Water exposes to sunlight causes evaporation.Groundwater doesn’t expose to sunlight.
Temperature levelSurface water has a change in temperature according to its surroundings.Groundwater has a constant temperature.
PathogensSurface water has pathogensGroundwater doesn’t have pathogens.

What is Surface Water?

Surface water is nothing but the water present on the upper side of the earth. It is used for drinking, cleaning, agriculture purpose, and electricity generation. The water provided to the communities is taken from surface water of almost 60 percent. The environmental protection agency has recorded those measurements. When the dissolved solids in the surface water are less than 1000 mg/l, then it is called freshwater by the USGS water reports.

Surface water has three major types namely, Permanent, Semi-permanent, and man-made. The permanent water or perennial is like lakes and rivers which have water throughout the year. The semi-permanent water is like channels and creeks that have water present only at certain times. The semi-permanent surface water is also called ephemeral. Man-made surface water is created by human beings for construction and other purposes. They are called artificial ponds.

The amount of rain on that year determines the amount of surface water. Climate change is the major impact reflect on the surface water levels. Climate change makes the icebergs melt and increase the seawater level. The increase in seawater will result in the damaging of the freshwater aquifer present in the underground. It affects the ecosystem and wildlife. The hydrological cycle has a direct connection with global warming which reflects in damaging the natural resources.

What is Groundwater?

Groundwater is nothing but the water present underground of the earth. The groundwater is a freshwater aquifer where the water shallows from the surface water. The groundwater gets recharged from the surface water. The groundwater has soil moisture and deep geothermal. Groundwater will make way to faults by its lubricating properties. Rainwater is the major source for recharging groundwater. In low permeability the groundwater is immobile.

When compared to surface water, groundwater is easy for an individual to make use of. In surface water, people need to travel to those places to fetch the water. Unlike surface water, groundwater is completely pollution-free. Continuous usage of groundwater results in the empty of groundwater. The improper disposal of waste will damage the groundwater. The waste from industries, the household will dumb into the ground without knowing the cause. Saltwater intrusion is the major problem of groundwater wastage.

Thirty percent of freshwater comes from groundwater. The world’s entire freshwater need of 0.76% is satisfied by the groundwater. Almost 99% of freshwater is from groundwater. The surface water will help to replenish the groundwater. In the natural life cycle, the groundwater is the long-term reservoir.

Main Differences Between Surface Water and Groundwater

  1. Water found in the upper side of the earth like rivers and lakes is called surface water, and the water trapped underground of the earth is called groundwater.
  2. Unlike Surface Water, the groundwater is less contaminated.
  3. Surface Water exposes to sunlight causes evaporation, whereas groundwater doesn’t expose to sunlight.
  4. Surface water has a change in temperature according to its surroundings, and groundwater has a constant temperature.
  5. Unlike surface water, groundwater doesn’t have pathogens.

Conclusion

Surface water and groundwater are two different water reservoirs present in the earth. The surface water is used for drinking, cleaning, and electricity generation. The groundwater is freshwater that is widely used for drinking and cooking purposes. The surface water is polluted by the surroundings. The groundwater is fresh and clean. Unlike groundwater, surface water is more contaminated with minerals. Surface water has several types based on water presence. The groundwater gets recharged from the surface water. Both surface water and groundwater are the major resources for water using daily. Rainwater will help to increase the level of water in both reservoirs.

References

  1. https://esd.copernicus.org/articles/5/15/2014/
  2. https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2008wr006953
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