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Aeration zone

the zone immediately below the land surface where the pores contain both water and air, but are totally saturated with water. Plant roots can capture the moisture passing through this zone, but it cannot provide water for wells. Also know as the unsaturated zone


An underground geological formation able to store and yield water.

Cone of depression

the zone around a welll in an unconfined aquifer that is normally saturated, but become unsaturated as a well is pumped, leaving an area where the water table dips down to form a cone shape. The shape of the cone is influenced by porosity and the water yield or pumping rate of the well.

Confining layer

Geologic material with little or no permeability or hydraulic conductivity. water does not pass through this layer or the rate of movement is extremely slow.


the loss of water from surface ater reservoirs or groundwater aquifers at a rate greater than that of recharge.


an outflow of water from a stream, pipe, groundwater aquifer, or watershed; the opposite of recharge


a lowering of the groundwater level caused by pumping.

Flow rate

the time required for a volume of groundwater to move between points. Typically groundwater moves very slowly- sometimes only inches per year


water found in the spaces between soil particles and cracks in rocks underground (located in the saturated zone). Groundwater is a natural resource that is used for drinking, recreation, industry, and growing crops

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