Chicago sunset

Deep Seated Water Aquifer Providing Billions of Gallons of Fresh Water to Chicago

As much of the planet struggles with drought, a Deep Seated Water aquifer has been providing Chicago and parts of Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and Indiana with hundreds of billions of gallons of fresh water. The “Deep Sandstone Aquifer” (technically known as the Cambrian-Ordovician Sandstone Aquifer System) has been supplying increasing amounts of fresh water for over 160 years to the Upper Midwest of the United States. First discovered in the 1860’s, the aquifer was producing over 50 million gallons per day by the 1920’s, increasing to over 150 million gallons per day in the 1970’s. Today, the regional groundwater system is producing over 900 million gallons per day for the public.

Artesian conditions encountered during drilling of a sandstone well, De Pere, Wisconsin ca. 1890

Over 160 years of water supply that helped build the third largest city in the U.S.

With a population of 9.4 million, the Chicago metropolitan area has been a hub of agricultural, manufacturing, and service industries for over 150 years. The Deep Sandstone Aquifer has served as the basic building block for fresh water in the region. Deep Seated Water is a supplemental source of fresh water that can help solve the problems of drought, famine, and even war in many regions of the planet.

Cambrian-Ordovician Aquifer System Chicago

Although this aquifer is being depleted due to the huge amounts of water drawdown compared with its recharge rates, it remains a foundational supply source. In some areas, the water “head” (height of well pressure) decline has reached over 200 feet, and in one case it has dropped over 1,000 feet. Yet, there has also been a substantial and widespread recovery of the water levels in the inner Chicago suburbs as manufacturing and business have moved out of the zone, rising more than 250 feet in some areas.

Laura Keefer, the Illinois State Hydrologist, presented a case study of the Deep Sandstone Aquifer to the US National Groundwater Association in October. More water will be drawn from nearby Lake Michigan in order to meet the needs of the region and help balance the use of groundwater and other water sources.

This case study serves as an example of the importance of good water management and the proper use of the available water resources. The fact that a Deep Seated Water aquifer has served tens of millions of people for over 160 years is a testament to the importance of this precious resource. At AquaterreX, our mission is to help solve the global water problem by adding this largely untapped ocean of fresh water to the supply of the planet.

Deep Seated Water – An Almost Unlimited, Alternative, and Clean Source

Deep Seated Water (DSW), is groundwater, typically sourced from deep aquifers that are located lower than shallow aquifers. Such deep aquifers are supplied not only from local catchment basins but also by subsurface inflows across basin boundaries. Deep Seated Water also encompasses water created at the mantle level of the Earth under extreme heat and pressure as confirmed by this recent report on mantle rain. Contamination does not occur in these deep water aquifers as modern pollution has not reached these deeper levels. And the best news is that this water is accessible and plentiful.

There is a Vast Ocean of Fresh Water Right Below Our Feet

A vast ocean of fresh water exists right below our feet. It can be tapped economically and quickly. It has been overlooked by hydrogeologists and other experts due to assumptions made decades ago. However, with 21st century technology this vast ocean of water can be located and brought to the surface within weeks. The US National Groundwater Association estimates there is 6,000 years of freshwater supply in the upper two kilometers of the earth’s crust Nature Geoscience article. AquaterreX has developed the ability to locate and economically bring to the surface these previously untapped water resources.

An example of huge new sources of fresh groundwater being discovered came just a few months ago in Texas. The newly named Maverick Basin Aquifer is known to be at least 3,000 square miles and averages 1,000 feet thick in most places. This comes years after Texas water experts concluded their deeper aquifers are brackish (salty) at best. Water tests on this new aquifer show it comes out of the ground already meeting or exceeding federal and state drinking water standards! Deep aquifer ( These discoveries fly in the face of the commonly accepted beliefs of most hydrogeology professionals.

We Can Solve the Water Crisis Now

AquaterreX has been at the forefront of this effort, employing 21st century technology to locate Deep Seated Water.

Deep Seated Water

Depiction of shallow and deeper aquifers

Deep Seated Water – The Missing Piece

Deep Seated Water is the Missing Piece that can solve the water crisis puzzle – contamination, drought, scarcity. Many water strategies focus on conservation, rather than additional supply. Other solutions such as desalination and wastewater treatment are potential answers for some, but they also come with trade-offs such as high cost, high energy usage, long planning periods and toxic waste. Deep Seated Water is located almost everywhere on the planet, and it can be added to the mix of solutions as a supplemental freshwater source that is not subject to contamination, is fast and easy to implement and is economical and scalable. And, tapping Deep Seated Water allows both surface water and shallow aquifer sources to recharge, making the total system more environmentally sustainable.

Missing Piece Freshwater Sources

We Can Solve The Water Problem

There is no question that we are facing freshwater challenges around the world. It is time to consider all of the alternatives and solutions at our disposal. Science and technology are advancing to the point where we can make a difference quickly, if we just resolve to do it.

About AquaterreX

AquaterreX ( is a global environmental services organization with a mission to broadly implement effective water and food security solutions. The name AquaterreX comes from the Latin, aqua (water) and French, terre (earth, land) which is a derivative of the Latin, terra, and “X” for exploration. Thus, AquaterreX encompasses water and land solutions for the planet.

The company possesses proprietary technology to locate Deep Seated Water, which is fresh water situated below the shallow groundwater that supplies the majority of fresh water on the planet. This vast new source of water can help solve the water crisis facing billions of people.

Contributing editor for this blog:
Arlin C. Howles; PG, CPG
AquaterreX Senior Geologist/Hydrogeologist