Functions of Groundwater

  • Seifu Kebede
Part of the Springer Hydrogeology book series (SPRINGERHYDRO)


Groundwater has storing, filtering and transforming capacities, and regulates atmospheric, hydrological and nutrient cycles. Groundwater stores and partly transforms CO2, energy, plant nutrients and other chemical substances. Groundwater can act as sink in the carbon cycle. Groundwater can immobilize or break down a multitude of pollutants, for example from waste disposal. Contaminants may build up and subsequently be released in different ways, in some cases exceeding regulatory thresholds. Sustaining biodiversity is an essential ecological function of the land. In turn, the biological activity on the land and in the soil contributes to its properties and characteristics, which are essential for its productive functions. Groundwater maintains wetlands and their ecosystems. Groundwater makes part of base flows of rivers and support river in ecosystem. Groundwater is principal pathway though which solute (such as silica, nitrate, and cations) enters into lake and ultimately supports the phytoplankton and zooplanktons. Groundwater sustains aquatic ecological functions in rivers, lakes, riparian zones and estuaries require huge volumes of water. Fresh water sustains biomass growth in terrestrial ecosystems, and provides key ecological services—maintaining biodiversity, sequestering carbon and combating desertification. Groundwaters are principal pathways of essential and non essential exotic trace elements in nature to get to the human metabolism.


Rift Valley Ground Fissure Ethiopian Rift Placer Gold Main Ethiopian Rift 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seifu Kebede
    • 1
  1. 1. Department of Earth SciencesAddis Ababa UniversityAddis AbabaEthiopia

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