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The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), Nick Bradford


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus

North America, United States

Groundwater and the Rising Seas

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  • This article discusses threats to groundwater resources in the United States.
  • Students will learn how sea level rise, overdrawing, and precipitation changes can lead to groundwater depletion.
Teaching Tips


  • This article thoroughly explains the importance and sources of groundwater, using effective visuals to convey the threats that US groundwater stores face.
  • Helpful links are included throughout the article, providing opportunities for further exploration of groundwater topics, data, and conservation.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with the water cycle.
  • Students may require assistance in interpreting the Saltwater Intrusion graphic. Consider asking students to first describe what they think is happening in the pictures, then support them in analyzing the different causes of saltwater intrusion if necessary.


  • Teachers could ask students to compare the two groundwater depletion maps and discuss the fact that the first map shows the change in groundwater depletion that took place in one hundred years and that the other shows the change in seven years. 
  • Students could make a list of ways that groundwater can be recharged and ways that it can be depleted. After, students could write a paragraph explaining ways people can protect groundwater. 
  • Other resources on this topic include this interactive global map of urban water supplies, this TED-Ed video on why water scarcity is a problem for so many people, and this article on how forests can protect water supplies in cities.
Scientist Notes
There is no contradiction in the resource. The data is properly cited and it is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-1 Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how the uneven distributions of Earth's mineral, energy, and groundwater resources are the result of past and current geoscience processes.
      • HS-ESS3-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.2 Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.9.9-12 Evaluate the influence of long-term climate variability on human migration and settlement patterns, resource use, and land uses at local-to-global scales.
  • Related Resources


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