Groundwater Law and Legal Definition

Groundwater is natural water that flows within aquifers below the water table. Groundwater is replenished from surface water and eventually flows to the surface naturally. Groundwater may be discharged at springs and can form oases or swamps. Groundwater is also often tapped for agricultural, municipal and industrial use through man-made wells.

Groundwater law involves many issues, including the distinction between percolating groundwater and surface water, the definition of basin boundaries, the interrelated concepts of safe yield and overdraft, and the different categories of groundwater rights. Groundwater laws vary by state, but some groundwater protection laws require advance notice to the state of any proposed new well in order to assure the wells are located and built correctly to avoid harming groundwater quantity and quality.