If you have ever shopped for bottled water you might have stumbled across brands that advertise their water as “artesian water.” You might have also noticed that this water is quite a bit more expensive than the typical bottle of water. If the fancy label and high price had you scratching your head, you are not alone. In this article, we will go over the science behind the term, enjoy some water trivia, and address some other common questions.
Before diving into the science, let us start with water trivia. In this episode of water trivia, we will test your knowledge of artesian water. Key concepts explored will include aquifers and groundwater. We will explore the origin of the term artesian and how it applies to both wells and well water. The true-false statement will serve to help us answer the question, what is artesian water?
True/false, Bottled water often is advertised as “artesian well water.” Artesian water is groundwater that is naturally filtered by an aquifer composed of fine, porous material—this artesian water can be put directly into bottles.
According to the USGS website, “This is false. While it is true that artesian water, or even just “plain” well water, can sometimes be used directly for bottled water, this statement is false, because artesian water is not defined as being naturally filtered. A simple definition of artesian water is that it is water in the ground that is under pressure.
Groundwater occurring in aquifers between layers of poorly permeable rock, such as clay or shale, may be confined under pressure. If such a confined aquifer is tapped by a well, water will rise above the top of the aquifer and may even flow from the well onto the land surface, as in a spring. Water confined in this way is said to be under artesian pressure, and the aquifer is called an artesian aquifer. The word artesian comes from the town of Artois in France, the old Roman city of Artesium, where the best-known flowing artesian wells were drilled in the Middle Ages.”
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