Aquifer

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An aquifer is a wet underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock or unconsolidated materials (gravel, sand, silt, or clay) from which groundwater can be usefully extracted using a water well. The study of water flow in aquifers and the characterization of aquifers is called hydrogeology. Related terms include aquitard, which is a bed of low permeability along an aquifer,[1] and aquiclude (or aquifuge), which is a solid, impermeable area underlying or overlying an aquifer. If the impermeable area overlies the aquifer pressure could cause it to become a confined aquifer.

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Aquifer depth

Aquifers may occur at various depths. Those closer to the surface are not only more likely to be used for water supply and irrigation, but are also more likely to be topped up by the local rainfall. Many desert areas have limestone hills or mountains within them or close to them that can be exploited as groundwater resources. Parts of the Atlas Mountains in North Africa, the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon ranges of Syria, Israel and Lebanon, the Jebel Akhdar (Oman) in Oman, parts of the Sierra Nevada and neighbouring ranges in the United States' Southwest, have shallow aquifers that are exploited for their water. Over-exploitation can lead to the exceeding of the practical sustained yield; i.e., more water is taken out than can be replenished. Along the coastlines of certain countries, such as Libya and Israel, population growth has led to over-population, which has caused the lowering of water table and the subsequent contamination of the groundwater with saltwater from the sea (saline intrusions).

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