By Susan Gallagher
The Times News, © 2003

February 1, 2003

Whole? Yes, we thought “whole” would make more sense, considering what we’d like this column to do. We’d like to give you the whole story, the whole picture, of Carbon County’s groundwater resources.

“We” are the Carbon County Groundwater Guardians. You may have heard of us, since we’ve been pretty active in the community these past few years. Maybe you met us at the county fair, visited us online at our website, or read one of our articles right here in the TIMES NEWS.

Our mission is to conserve and protect groundwater, by educating ourselves and others, and by encouraging county residents to get involved, too. This column is just one of the ways we hope to accomplish that mission.

Telling the whole story of our groundwater resources is a big job. We can’t do it all at once, and may not be able to do it at all. But we’d like to give it a try with a series of articles to answer your questions, and to address any groundwater related issues that arise throughout the year. The Watering Whole hopes to be your regular meeting place for learning more about how groundwater affects you, your family, and your community. It hopes to be a place where you can come for answers to the question, “What can I do to make sure we always have enough clean water to go around?”

Having enough clean water to go around may be the most important issue living things face. There is a place in southwest Africa, for example, called Etosha National Park. Its key feature, the Etosha Pan, is a flat, salty basin, that periodically fills with water, too rich in minerals for most animals to drink.

But on the edges of the pan, spring fed waterholes attract huge concentrations of birds and mammals. During the dry winter months, rhinos, elephants, impalas and wildebeest gather in spectacular numbers. Predators such as lions, leopards, and cheetahs come too, not to prey on the abundant game, but rather to get a drink.

These animals seem to know instinctively what we must be taught; that our need for water comes first, that every precious drop is to be savored, and that a waterhole is a place to come together, and put aside all else. We hope you’ll join us here at our Watering Whole, to learn more about our need for clean water, to remind yourself how precious this resource is, and to come together as a community.